Driver injured when car catches fire after collision

Police said a car caught fire on Route 109 after a collision with another vehicle Friday evening.

According to police, the accident occurred shortly before 5:30 p.m. near the Sanford town line.

One driver, Eric Bertrand, 36, of Sanford, was injured in the crash, and his car caught fire after the accident. The fire was put out by a passing motorist, police said.

Bertrand was taken to Goodall Hospital and then transferred to Maine Medical Center. Police said they don’t know the extent of Bertrand’s injuries except that they were not life-threatening.

The driver of the other car involved in the accident, Nicholas Hart, 19, of Springvale, and a passenger in Hart’s car were not injured.

Police said no charges have been filed, and an investigation of the accident is continuing.


Man stops robbery attempt by disarming assailant

A man foiled a robbery attempt earlier this week by taking a baseball bat away from one of his assailants, police said.

The man said he was approached by two men in the CVS parking lot near School Street about 7 p.m. Tuesday. The men, one of whom had a baseball bat, demanded the man’s money.

Although the victim was hit by the bat, he managed to take it away from the assailant and run away from the area without further injury.


Council votes to ban use, sale of fireworks in city

Augusta has become the latest Maine municipality to ban fireworks.

City councilors voted 5-2 Thursday to ban the use and sale of fireworks in the city.

The Legislature this year passed a law legalizing fireworks in Maine beginning Jan. 1, but municipalities have the option to regulate them within their borders. A number of other cities have already banned fireworks, including Portland, Bangor and Lewiston. 

Most Maine homes have carbon monoxide detectors

Maine health officials say the percentage of rental units with carbon monoxide detectors has nearly doubled in a year’s time.

The Maine Center for Disease Control and Prevention says the number jumped from 34 percent in 2009 to 58 percent in 2010. Officials say the increase is due largely to a 2009 state law requiring carbon monoxide detectors in all rental units, new single-family homes and existing homes whenever a property transfer occurs.

A statewide survey also shows that the percentage of Maine households with carbon monoxide detectors has been steadily increasing, from 35 percent in 2004 to 54 percent in 2010.

More than two-thirds of cases of carbon monoxide poisonings occur between November and March in Maine, mostly due to malfunctioning heating systems or blocked flues and vents.


Members of turnpike union protest contract proposals

Maine Turnpike union workers are protesting contract proposals asking them to give up triple pay for holidays and other benefits they’ve had for years.

About a dozen workers picketed outside a Maine Turnpike Authority board meeting Thursday night in Auburn.

The turnpike authority and two unions are negotiating contracts that cover nearly 300 of the agency’s 462 workers. The current contracts expire Dec. 31.

Union members told WMTW-TV the agency’s contract offer would result in some employees’ health insurance costs going up by 40 percent. The agency also wants to end longevity bonuses and the ability to “cash out” unused vacation and sick pay.

Turnpike Authority Executive Director Peter Mills has said an anticipated toll increase in 2013 could be reduced if the unions accept the concessions.

Trucking company cuts more than 60 positions

An Auburn trucking company has shut down its long-haul trucking operation and heavy-duty truck center, putting more than 60 people out of work.

Bisson Transportation owner Bob Cooper says the company could not find enough owner-operator truck drivers to make the long-haul freight business work. It has about 38 and would need about 60 drivers to be “reasonably profitable.”

Cooper says a lot of truckers got out of the business during the recession, and now that the economy has picked up, they are in great demand. He tells the Sun Journal that Bisson can’t offer the incentives and bonuses larger companies give their drivers.

The shutdown means layoffs for 38 truck drivers and 23 others, including mechanics and office workers.


Union officer hopes locals will be hired to build bridge

A New Hampshire Iron Workers union officer says he’s concerned the contractor for the new Memorial Bridge won’t hire state residents for the job.

But the project manager and a transportation commissioner say the intent is to offer positions to local workers.

The bridge connects Portsmouth to Kittery, Maine. Transportation officials have picked Archer Western Contractors, of Chicago and Canton, Mass,. as the contractor for the project. It has to be approved by New Hampshire’s Executive Council.

Shawn Cleary, business agent for the Iron Workers Local No. 7 in Manchester said he’s hoping workers will be hired from New Hampshire and Maine.

State Transportation Commissioner Chris Clement said he’s been assured that Walsh & Archer Western will hire local tradespeople “as much as possible.”


Store owner badly burned when can of diesel explodes

The owner of a Lagrange convenience store suffered severe burns when a six-gallon can of off-road diesel fuel exploded as he burned an old stump in the store’s yard.

John Decesere, co-owner of Four Corners Variety and Redemption Center, was flown to Maine Medical Center in Portland after the explosion Thursday.

The 60-year-old man is listed in fair condition.

Witness Tom Russell said Decesere came around the corner screaming with flames all over his upper body and head.

Russell doused the flames with a cup of coffee he had just purchased, then other customers and workers used jugs of water on Decesere until paramedics arrived.

His wife, Joanne Decesere, says the couple does not have health insurance.

— From staff and wire reports