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Family files lawsuit over fatal fire at Rockport motel

By Stephen Betts | Sep 21, 2020
Photo by: File photo A lawsuit has been filed over a fatal fire at Schooner Bay Motor Inn in the early hours of Dec. 2.

Rockport — The family of a man who died in a fire at a Rockport motel last year claims the inn's owner shut off the fire alarm system after three alarms sounded nearly 90 minutes earlier.

The lawsuit was filed Sept. 18 in the Knox County court by Theresa Deane and Keith Perkins, as personal representatives of the estate of the late Kevin Stanley, against Scott Perry and Schooner Bay Motor Inn.

Stanley, 53, died in the fire that struck in the early morning hours of Dec. 2, 2019, at the inn located on Route 1.

The cause of the fire was initially suspected of being from Stanley smoking in bed, catching his mattress on fire.

Camden Police Officer Paul Thompson was one of the first responders at the scene and kicked in the door of the second-floor room, pulled Stanley from the room and brought him outside. The officer and another motel guest performed cardio-pulmonary resuscitation, but were unable to revive him.

Occupants of the other rooms at the motel were evacuated without injury.

Two adjoining rooms were heavily damaged, along with the room where the man perished. The roof was also damaged and there was extensive water damage to the hotel.

According to the lawsuit, inn owner Perry knew guests smoked cigarettes in their rooms. The lawsuit also alleges there was no sprinkler system or other fire suppression system in the room where Stanley resided for the past month

The alarm first sounded at 2:02 a.m. for a possible fire on the second floor and Perry silenced it without investigating, according to the lawsuit. An alarm sounded again at 2:10 a.m., then 2:11 a.m., both on the second floor, and Perry silenced the alarms without investigating the cause of the alarms being activated, the lawsuit claims.

He then shut off the fire alarm system from a remote control system at his residence several hundred yards from the inn, the lawsuit contends.

At 3:27 a.m., another guest in the inn called 911 after smelling smoke. That is when the fire was detected.

Rockport Fire Chief Jason Peasley said he could not comment on the allegations and referred questions to the state fire marshal's office, which was in consultation with the Maine Attorney General's Office.

A telephone message was left Sept. 21 with the Maine Fire Marshal's Office. There was no immediate response.

The lawsuit pointed out that these actions occurred a month after another fire struck the motel. That fire occurred Nov. 8, sparked by a child playing with a lighter. There were no injuries, but the fire damaged one room.

Schooner Bay has 22 rooms and is located at 337 Commercial St.

Perkins is the adult son of Stanley. Deane is the mother of Stanley's children.

The family is represented by attorneys William Herbert, Sharon Tepler and Sean Walton of Hardy Wolf and Downing in Portland.

Perry has also filed a lawsuit against Acadia Insurance Company, claiming it failed to pay him for lost business income. The company is fighting the lawsuit.

A telephone message was left with attorney Robert Weaver, who is Perry's lawyer in the lawsuit against the insurance company. Perry has not filed a response to the family's lawsuit over the fatal fire, and no attorney is listed for him in that lawsuit.

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