Building owner faces charges after Brunswick fire

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BRUNSWICK  — The owner of 45 Maine St. has been charged with criminal and civil violations in connection with the fire that destroyed the building in April.

Police charged Orville Ranger, 84, with violating a public fire safety rule and failure to have more than one way of egress in the building. The former is a Class E misdemeanor, and the maximum penalty is $1,000 or six months in jail.

Police Department Capt. Mark Waltz issued the summons June 16.

According to Deputy Fire Chief Jeff Emerson, the apartment and commercial building did not have a code-compliant fire alarm system, or the required number of entrances and exits.

Reached on Tuesday, Ranger said he has not seen the charges, which were delivered to his lawyer. But he said the fire was not his fault, and he would not “plead guilty to any charges I’m not guilty of.”

Fire destroyed the building on April 17, displacing 13 people and five businesses. Investigators believe that the cause of the fire, officially undetermined due to the extent of the damage, was related to an electrical malfunction.

Waltz said in April that a criminal investigation was launched because of the building’s long history of fire and safety code violations, and the danger that firefighters and tenants were exposed to during the fire.

Firefighters were almost trapped in the burning building when flames burst through the windows and roof. One tenant had to be rescued through a window.

According to Ranger’s lawyer, Peter DeTroy, the case will first be heard in court in early August. He confirmed that Ranger plans to plead not guilty.

Emily Guerin can be reached at 781-3661 ext.123 or eguerin@theforecaster.net. Follow her on Twitter: @guerinemily.

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