The Essex Street fire started in the kitchen, according to officials.

BANGOR (AP) – Two people were killed in a fire Sunday night in an apartment where the smoke detectors had been disabled, officials said.

Bangor Assistant Fire Chief Vance Tripp said the fire in a four-unit apartment house at 182-186 Essex St. was reported at 8:55 p.m.

Tripp said Lisa Marie McCarty, 32, who lived in a second-floor apartment where the fire started, and a friend, Steven Alan Coffin, 48, of Bangor, died of smoke inhalation.

He said the other occupants in the building, at least three, escaped safely down a back fire escape.

Sgt. Stewart Jacobs of the Maine fire marshal’s office said the battery had been removed from one smoke detector in McCarty’s apartment, while the hard-wired smoke detectors had been disassembled.

“Through interviewing some of the occupants, that had been done some time prior to the fire for painting,” Jacobs said. “So the protection was not there when needed.”

When firefighters arrived, flames were roaring out of the front and rear windows of the building, threatening a nearby building that was just three feet away, Tripp said.

Ann Marie Harris, who lived in another second-floor apartment, said a smoke alarm in a hallway went off during the fire, but the one in her apartment wasn’t working because she and her roommate had removed it to paint.

Her friend, Matthew Fearon, who was in the apartment, said he broke through a door boarded up with 2-by-4s to reach the fire escape.

“I heard glass breaking and everything flickered,” he said. “I opened up the front door, I was closest to it, and there was smoke everywhere. I put my fist through the front door.”

Jacobs said the fire started in the kitchen, and the heaviest damage was near the stove, although the fire may have started elsewhere.

Tripp said a fire captain was treated for second-degree burns on the back of his neck, and a firefighter was treated for heat exhaustion.


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