Firefighters battle a blaze Sept. 11 at 226 Blake St. in Lewiston. Seventy-year-old Felicien Betu died trying to escape the building. Daryn Slover/Sun Journal

LEWISTON — Three teenagers accused of starting a fatal apartment building fire Sept. 11 have been charged with felony murder, officials said.

Two 13-year-olds and a 14-year-old were charged last month with arson, but those charges have been upgraded to felony murder, the Attorney General’s Office said Friday.

The building at 226 Blake St. was evacuated during the fire, but Felicien Betu, 70, was trapped on the top floor, officials said. He died from his injuries after he jumped from a window to escape the flames.

A felony murder charge can be brought when a death occurs during the commission of a felony crime.

The juvenile’s names have not been made public. A spokesman for the Attorney General’s Office, which is prosecuting the case, said late Friday that a judge ordered the names of the three juveniles sealed.

It’s unclear which attorneys are representing them.


The teenagers were taken into custody two days after the fire and brought to Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland.

The fire heavily damaged the third and fourth floors in the 10-unit apartment building and displaced 27 people, officials said.

Lewiston Schools Superintendent Jake Langlais said Betu was an adult education student.

Emergency response personnel were making attempts to reach Betu when he jumped, according to Maine Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Shannon Moss.

The Sun Journal contributed to this report.

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