Witnesses who escaped fire testify at landlord trial

Landlord on trial for tenants deaths

PORTLAND, Maine (NEWS CENTER) — People who escaped the deadly Noyes Street fire took the stand on Tuesday in the trial of landlord Gregory Nisbet.

Nisbet is charged with six counts of manslaughter. The state is trying to prove that Nisbet is accountable for the deaths of his tenants. He owned the Noyes Street building that was the scene of the worst fire in Maine in 40 years back in November 2014.

Nathan Long is one of the lucky ones who managed to escape the Noyes Street building by jumping from a second story window. Taking the stand in landlord Gregory Nisbet’s trial meant having to relive that awful morning.

“Having to rehash that exact morning and thinking about how I was able to escape but my roommates weren’t," he said. "That’s really tough on me and it has been this whole time, probably the toughest thing about it."

The state is trying to prove Gregory Nisbet is responsible for the deaths of six people who were living or staying in his building because it did not have the proper fire safety equipment and people were allowed to live in spaces that had no escape routes.

Long said has no opinion on whether or not Nisbet should be held responsible.

The state claims Nisbet was running a boarding house at Noyes Street, something he was not licensed to do. The defense claims it was run as single-family home. Long did offer his thoughts on that.

“I would have felt like it was a single family home," he said. "We knew everyone who came to live with us, it was all friends."

Gregory Nisbet is the first landlord in Maine charged with causing the death of tenants because of the condition of his building. This precedent-setting trial is being watched closely by many in Maine. It’s expected to last through the week.

Copyright 2016 WCSH


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