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Central Maine News: Fires Have Killed 25 in 2014 in ME, 11 in Nov, the Most in 21 Years

Scott Olson, Getty Images

These are some of the stories central Maine is talking about today.

A Maine government survey says the average statewide cash price for heating oil dropped another 3 cents in the past week. The average price according to the Nov. 17 survey was $3.06. The average kerosene price of $3.62 was down 3 cents and propane prices rose one cent to $2.83. Heating oil averaged $3.53 per gallon a year ago at this time. The highest price for heating oil was again found in central Maine, where prices topped out at $3.40. The lowest prices were in southwestern and western Maine, where the low mark was $2.70. (AP)

25 people have died in fires this year in the state, 11 in this month alone. It is the most in 21 years.  That includes a fire has taken a mom and three young children in northern Maine this week. Investigators are still searching for a cause of the fire. The four bodies will be transported to the state medical examiner for an autopsy that will likely take place Friday. Officials are reminding people to check their smoke detectors, review their safety plans with family, and pay attention to possible fire hazards in your home and address any problems.  (AP)

Hallowell’s city manager says he will reappoint the police chief even after reprimanding him after the chief was accused of sexual misconduct. The City Manager Michael will reappoint Chief Eric Nason after “looking at his entire career,” which includes more than 25 years with the department, nearly a decade as chief. The reappointment is subject to ratification by the city council in January. Nason received a written reprimand after having a romantic relationship with a female subordinate. The woman accused Nason of sexual assault, but he was never criminally charged and said their relationship was consensual. (AP)

Thousands of dollars’ worth of lumber and equipment were lost last night in a fire that destroyed a lumber yard at Campbell’s True Value Building Supply in Madison. According to the KJ, no injuries were reported in the fire. About 20 % of the store’s inventory of kiln-dried lumber also was lost as was some equipment. The fire was contained to the one building and it didn’t spread. Campbell’s plans to be open for business as usual Friday. (centralmaine.com)

Augusta city councilors approved changes to winter parking rules meant to help eliminate confusion about where downtown residents can park overnight. According to the KJ, there are more people living in downtown and it can be confusing. Councilors voted to amend the city’s winter nighttime parking ban to allow vehicles to remain parked overnight on the east side of Commercial Street. Prior to Thursday’s 6-0 unanimous vote, overnight parking on Commercial Street, as on most city streets.. Because it was adopted as an emergency measure, the change took effect immediately. (centralmaine.com)

President Barack Obama is being praised and criticized for implementing on his own changes in the immigration system that could shield some 5 million people living illegally in the U.S. from being deported. Immigration supporters with American flags marched near the White House Thursday, carrying signs that said, “Gracias, Presidente Obama.” Republican Sen. Mitch McConnell, who’ll soon become majority leader, says Obama “will come to regret the chapter history writes if he does move forward.” (AP)

The snow is expected to stop in the Buffalo, New York area, but residents are still unable to breathe easy. Two blasts of lake-effect snow have left 7 feet or more of snow. And temperatures are expected to warm up considerably this weekend, meaning floods are possible. (AP)

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