Maine Landlord Pleads Not Guilty to Charges in Deadly Fire

Portland Fire1

The owner of a Portland, Maine, apartment house where six tenants died in a Nov. 1 fire has pleaded not guilty to manslaughter.

Six manslaughter charges were brought against Gregory Nisbet after plea negotiations broke down following the fire that was deadliest in Maine in 40 years. He entered his pleas Friday in Superior Court in Portland.

Investigators said improperly disposed smoking materials on the porch started the fire and that the house didn't have functioning smoke detectors. A civil lawsuit alleges that an exit was blocked.

Nisbet's lawyer, Matt Nichols, said previously that Nisbet installed smoke detectors but tenants disabled them. He said it may have been a code violation but didn't rise to the level of gross negligence.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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