Building owner pleads guilty to civil charge

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PORTLAND — The owner of 45 Maine St. in Brunswick pleaded guilty Nov. 17 to one of two charges that resulted from an April 17 fire that destroyed the building.

In a dispositional conference at Cumberland County District Court, Orville Ranger pleaded guilty to failure to have more than one exit in the building, a civil violation. He will pay a $500 fine.

A second, criminal charge of violating a public fire safety rule was dropped. He previously pleaded not guilty at his August arraignment.

Ranger received a summons from the Brunswick Police Department in June after the fire that displaced 13 people and several small businesses. Officials later said the 174-year-old building at the corner of Maine and Mason streets had life safety code violations.

The official cause of the fire was undetermined, although investigators believe it was caused by an electrical malfunction.