Space heater electric cord blamed for house fire

Investigators say the fire that destroyed a two-story house at 133 Central St. in Westbrook on Sunday was caused when an electrical cord powering a space heater failed, creating a short circuit.

The owner, Wallace Carey, was in the living room where the fire started and heard a popping sound around 8:20 p.m., said Capt. Charles Jarrett, fire inspector. When Carey turned, he saw smoke, Jarrett said.

Firefighters arrived to find heavy flames and the home’s two occupants outside. Firefighters started an interior attack but felt that the floor was threatening to cave in, so they retreated and directed water on the building from the outside, Jarrett said.

Gorham and Windham firefighters assisted in bringing the fire under control, he said. One firefighter suffered a minor injury and was treated and released from a local hospital.

The building was valued at $78,700 and is a total loss, Jarrett said. The residents’ dog, a chihuahua, is still missing, he said.


Man charged with taking tractor-trailer joy ride

A Maine man faces several charges after he stole a tractor-trailer rig, drove it through a fence and concrete barriers before stopping in Auburn, police said.

Police said 32-year-old William Wing was charged with theft of a motor vehicle, operating under the influence, violation of bail conditions and aggravated criminal mischief in the incident Saturday night. He remained in the Androscoggin County Jail in Auburn on Monday morning.

Police said a pursuit began after a motorist reported fencing and concrete masonry scattered on Route 202. Lewiston officers caught up to the tractor-trailer and tried to stop it, but the driver continued into Auburn.

Police said the truck was stolen from Mason Pallet Co. in Wales, but Wing has no connection to the company. The investigation was continuing.


Winter disconnection rules end today, Maine PUC says

The Maine Public Utilities Commission is reminding utility customers that rules that protect against wintertime disconnection come to an end today.

Electric and gas utilities are not allowed to disconnect utility service from customers who have overdue bills from Nov. 15 to April 19 without permission from the commission’s consumer assistance division.

That means the “summer rules” go into effect today, allowing utility companies to disconnect customers without agency permission. Customers who are unable to pay overdue bills are advised to contact their utilities and make payment arrangements.


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