Seven months after a fire in Portland, Maine, killed six people in an apartment building on Noyes Street, the Cumberland County District Attorney is offering landlord Gregory Nisbet a plea deal.
District Attorney Stephanie Anderson said she will be meeting with Nisbet, his attorney and members of the Maine Attorney General's office sometime in the next two weeks to negotiate the plea deal. If they cannot reach an agreement, Anderson said she will be pursuing criminal charges against Nisbet.
"We feel that he is at least partially responsible for those deaths," said Anderson.
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Investigators have determined that the fire on Nov. 1 started accidentally due to improper disposal of a cigarette; however, they said code violations within the property contributed to the loss of life.
Investigators said exits were blocked and the smoke alarm system was not working at the time of the fire.
The District Attorney has not disclosed what kind of criminal charges she will be pursuing, but in the past, has stated that manslaughter charges were possible.
"The landlord did not cause the fire," said Nisbet's attorney, Matthew Nichols. "I am not aware of any past cases where charges were brought for something that happened at a building that wasn't caused by the landlord."
Nichols said his client has expressed remorse for the fire and the loss of life, but does not believe he is criminally responsible for the deaths, calling a manslaughter charge a "leap" from life safety code violations.