Uber driver credited with helping victims of Bangor apartment fire

11 tenants now being helped by Red Cross and other area non profits
Published: Mar. 6, 2023 at 11:03 AM EST
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BANGOR, Maine (WABI) - Investigators with the State Fire Marshal’s Office are in Bangor Monday morning, trying to figure out the cause of an overnight fire on Essex Street.

The report came in around 9:30 Sunday night.

”As I rolled up, we could clearly see there was a healthy glow in what appeared to be a kitchen area on the first floor.”

Laurence Murray is an Uber driver. He was dropping off a passenger across the street at the time. When they saw the flames, they both called 9-1-1.

“As I was talking to the dispatcher, she asked what I saw and I said- ma’am, it just went fully engulfed,” says Murray. “At that point, the whole first floor was just flames coming out 3, 4, 5 feet into the driveway and out the side.”

“There were several people in the building when the fire started,” says Bangor Assistant Fire Chief Andrew Emery.

Thankfully everyone made it out safely.

“There was a dog and two cats there were all rescued,” says Emery. “One dog and one cat were taken to the vet.”

A man who lived on the second floor didn’t want to go on camera. Off camera, he showed TV5 his car, still parked in the driveway of the building. Unfortunately the keys to start it are still in his former residence.

“As the fire grew inside, it did blow some windows out of place,” says Emery. “The fire traveled up through the construction to the roof.”

“They came out with just a blanket around them. No shoes. I felt bad for them,” says Murray, getting emotional. He says he offered his Uber vehicle to the fire victims as temporary shelter.

“I was just happy that I was here to keep them warm,” he says, tearing up. “I sat here for more than two hours with them.”

Murray says he tried contacting the Red Cross and some area hotels for help but was unsuccessful. He eventually brought the tenants to a warming shelter in downtown Bangor.

“I have a big vehicle so I was able to fit them all in,” he says. They’re safe. If they see this- my thoughts are with you. And I’m sorry for you.”

The Red Cross is now helping the 11 displaced tenants with housing and other essentials.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation by the State Fire Marshal’s Office.