Re: “Plea talks go into next week for landlord in Portland fire that killed 6” (June 12):

Having been a Portland landlord for the last 15 years, I have a good idea of the challenges that landlords face.

I have met Gregory Nisbet, the embattled landlord of 20-24 Noyes St., several times over the years in various real estate dealings.

What happened to the young people in the fire last fall at that property is a true tragedy, but Mr. Nisbet is not the horrible person and slumlord that he is being portrayed as – and he certainly should not be charged with manslaughter.

The truth is, but for the grace of God, there go I and many others. Many times I have gone into my apartments to find that tenants have pulled the smoke detectors off the wall, because they didn’t want to listen to them beeping.

I have asked them to call me when the batteries need replacing, but they often do not.

One tenant had been smoking on a third-floor deck and started a fire with a butt that was not extinguished. She did not hear the working smoke detector over her head in the bedroom as she slept. Luckily, a first-floor tenant heard it and put the fire out with the fire extinguisher that was in the apartment.

Some tenants have run dangerous space heaters, put furniture in front of fire exits, heated the apartment with a gas range, run extension cords and overloaded and overheated circuits and so on.

I feel that most likely some responsibility should be directed toward Mr. Nisbet for not being as vigilant as you have to be these days. I also feel that the city could also do a better job of inspection and enforcement of multi-unit code violations.

Bradford Post

Portland