Maine Hit by Deadliest Fire in 30 Years

5 killed in blaze
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Nov 1, 2014 5:29 PM CDT
Firefighters examine the scene of a fatal apartment building fire, Saturday, Nov. 1, 2014, in Portland, Maine.   (AP Photo/Robert F. Bukaty)
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(Newser) – Fire swept through a two-apartment building near the University of Southern Maine's commuter campus in Portland this morning, killing five people and critically injuring one, authorities say. The fire, which gutted the two-story structure, was reported at 7:17 am following a Halloween party the night before. "We do not know whether the victims are residents of the home or guests," says a fire marshals' spokesman. It was unclear if any of the victims were students. The fire, Maine's deadliest since a 1984 blaze killed five in Hartland, ripped a hole through the roof of the house, and both apartment units were badly burned.

Portland's fire chief says officials still don't know where the fire started. Authorities were unsure how many, if any, are still missing. One person suffered severe burns and jumped from a second-story window; he was reported in critical condition in a Boston hospital. A second person was treated and released from a hospital. Two bodies were found on the second floor and two others on the third floor. Seven people escaped the fire; at least one was a student, says the university's president.

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