Cumberland, Berwick get fire department grants

Two Maine fire departments are getting $170,000 in grant funding from the federal Department of Homeland Security.

Officials say the Berwick Fire Department will receive $118,000, and the Cumberland Fire Department has been awarded more than $52,000 from the Assistance to Firefighters Grant Program.

In announcing the grants, U.S. Sen. Susan Collins said the funding is provided for training, equipment, wellness and fitness, modifications to facilities and new firefighting vehicles.

SOMERVILLE

Family loses home in fire that started in chimney

A chimney fire that quickly spread into the attic has left a family homeless for Christmas.

Mike Dostie, fire chief of the Somerville Fire Department, said Jeremy McGinnis and his family resided in the mobile home at 70 Hewitt Road.

Dostie said the family was home Sunday morning when the fire started, but no one was injured.

He said the fire was knocked down within 35 minutes after firefighters arrived. The call came in at 10 a.m.

“It was a good save,” Dostie said. “When we got there flames were coming out of the roof.”

He said an overheated chimney attached to a wood stove caused the fire.

BIDDEFORD

New websites help buyers find varieties of seafood

A Maine Internet company is casting a wider net as it launches new websites listing companies that sell various kinds of seafood.

SeafoodDirectory.com, based in Biddeford, in February launched its first website, www.LobsterSuppliers.com, where seafood buyers can find profiles and ratings of companies that sell lobsters.

Since then, CEO Neal Workman has added more sites that are specific to other seafoods, including crab, scallops, salmon, shrimp and groundfish.

In the weeks and months ahead, Workman says the company will be launching 19 additional sites for seafood species ranging from tilapia and swordfish to tuna and squid.

He says the sites help seafood buyers find the products they’re looking for.

LEWISTON

Somalis’ influence grows after 10 years in city

Lewiston’s Somali community is marking its first decade in Maine’s second-largest city.

In the last 10 years, Somalis’ influence in Lewiston can be seen on the city’s streets, and in schools and the economy.

Somalis have rapidly become active, full-fledged members of the community, and a growing number have received citizenship.

The Sun Journal of Lewiston also says that for the first time, Somalis ran for public office in this year’s elections, conducting write-in campaigns for an at-large seat on the Lewiston School Committee. One candidate received 41 percent of the vote, but lost to a former school superintendent.

Somalis compose nearly 10 percent of Lewiston’s population, making it perhaps the only city in the country where the largest minority group is Somali.

PORTLAND

Blaze damages townhouse, leaves tenant homeless

A tenant is homeless after fire heavily damaged a townhouse at 74 Croquet Lane on Sunday.

The fire started around 5 p.m., said Deputy Chief Robert Wassick. No one was injured, but the townhouse is uninhabitable.

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

— From staff and news services