Portland Landlord Not Guilty Of Manslaughter For Fatal Fire
A judge on Friday found Portland landlord Gregory Nisbet not guilty of manslaughter for a fire at one of his properties that killed six people nearly two years ago.
The fire started sometime after midnight in a Noyes Street house that had hosted a Halloween night party. Six people were killed in the 2014 blaze that was started by a cigarette igniting a couch on the porch. Prosecutors claimed the house was a death trap, with no working smoke detectors and inadequate exits. In addition, there were questions about whether the dwelling was a single-family home or whether it had become a boarding house, which carries different fire safety requirements.
Nisbet was found not guilty on six counts of manslaughter and fire code violations this week, but guilty of a misdemeanor charge for windows on the top floor that were too small to provide a second exit from the building. While the outcome of the trial wasn't what the victims' families hoped for, some have indicated there's some satisfaction in the knowledge that communities around the state have improved their inspection standards for multi-family dwellings due to this case.
Nisbet could face six months in jail and a $1,000 fine for the misdemeanor charge.
A memorial for the victims is planned for Sunday, October 30th, from 1 to 4 p.m. in Portland's Longfellow Park.