ANDOVER — A battery-powered lantern was used at Tuesday night’s selectmen meeting because of a power outage caused by a smoldering at the control house electrical substation in Roxbury in the afternoon.

The fire disrupted power to 4,700 Central Maine Power customers, mainly in Andover, Roxbury and the Rangeley area, company spokesperson Gail Rice said on Wednesday morning. As of Wednesday, CMP was still investigating the cause of the fire, Rice said.

At the selectmen meeting, Code Enforcement Officer Bob Folsom spoke to the board about why the town should designate him as a Life Safety Code enforcer. It would allow him to enforce state fire and safety protection laws, he said. 

Folsom said his concern was based on an incident in a neighboring town where a woman living in an apartment above a restaurant was overcome by carbon monoxide poisoning from the restaurant. He said the woman became seriously ill and could not return to live in the apartment following her illness.

Without the ability to enforce the laws, Folsom said restaurant owners could sue the town or sue him for his personal assets.

Life Safety Code requirements also include rules that ensure that restaurants or general stores with apartments above them use two layers of fire-protective coated sheetrock in their buildings, he said.

“The problem with the fire marshal (investigating for violations) is there is just one department for the whole state,” and they are tied up, he said.

“I think it’s important to be designated for the things that are important in the community,” Folson said. “The Life Safety Code is just that, it’s saving lives through having proper safe places for people to live and to work in.”

Folsom said that if the fire marshal did not take action on a building violation he could step in and enforce the code if he were designated to do so.

Selectman Jim Adler said, “I’m not a fan of it, that’s my stand. I think you do enough for the town, and if we have a fire marshal that covers this I don’t see giving you the extra authority and burden.”

Selectmen Jane Rich and Sharon Hutchins said they agreed with Adler.

A private executive session on personnel matters followed the meeting.

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