A few days after Adele Parent died in the house fire, a Maine State Police investigator said recent electrical work likely caused the blaze.
The remains of a house fire that killed 7-year-old Adele Parent in Lincoln are pictured Feb. 24, 2021. Credit: Natalie Williams / BDN

The father of the 7-year-old girl who died in a Lincoln house fire two years ago has sued the girl’s mother, stepfather and the homeowners alleging the girl died because the house was unsafe. 

Adele E. Parent died on Feb. 22, 2021. She was in a back bedroom of the Taylor Street home, which is the last house on a private road, when a fire broke out at about 9:45 p.m. The girl died of smoke inhalation, according to her autopsy.

Jayson Parent, 31, of Milford sued Adele’s mother Tricia L. Mutty, 31, of Hampden, her stepfather John J. White, 31, of Lincoln and homeowners Dale R. Porter, 65, and Joan E. Porter, 58, both of Lincoln on Friday in Penobscot County Superior Court in Bangor. Their hometowns aren’t listed in the court document.

Adele Parent, 7, was killed in February 2021 house fire. Her father he suing over her death.
Adele Parent, 7, of Lincoln was killed in February 2021 house fire in Lincoln. She is remembered as “an outgoing little girl who was fearless in everything she did.” Credit: Courtesy of Jayson Parent

Adele was the first child, a first-grader at the Ella B. Burr School in Lincoln, to die in a fire in Maine since a 9-year-old boy was killed in 2015 in Hermon.

The complaint does not detail the alleged unsafe conditions at the home but a few days after the fire, Maine State Police Lt. Troy Gardner, an investigator with the Maine State Fire Marshal’s office, said the likely cause was electrical work done on the house’s second story. 

The electrical work completed within three days of the fire did not appear to have been done by a professional or to have been in line with local code, he said. 

There were no safety precautions taken to protect the wiring, which could have allowed it to make contact with nails or screws, he said.

In addition, the presence of kerosene in a plastic container — as well as a kerosene heater — in the house’s attic likely helped spread the flames, Gardner said. 

The kerosene combined with flames in the attic to spread downward into the girl’s room through her closet, filling the room with thick black smoke, he said.

The home, which was insured, was destroyed in the fire. Information about whether the company paid out or not was not available Tuesday.

Parent’s attorney, Steven Mogul of Bangor, called the girl’s death a “terrible tragedy” that could have been avoided.

“This was a terrible tragedy resulting in the loss of a truly special little girl, but from my reading of the fire marshal’s reports, one that could have been avoided by proper use and storage of fuel and a diesel-fueled heater, and the use of a licensed electrician,” he said on Tuesday. “It is our understanding that the landlords were aware of the improper storage of the fuel and the heater, and were aware that electric work was being done by someone who is not a licensed electrician.”

Parent is seeking unspecified damages on behalf of his daughter’s estate for the pain and suffering the girl experienced during the fire and the emotional distress her death caused him.

She had a “fun-loving adventurous spirit” and “was an outgoing little girl who was fearless in everything she did,” according to her obituary, published immediately after her death. “No tree was too tall, no vehicle could go too fast, and no challenge was too great for her to attempt and enjoy.

“Adele was a gymnast, singer, and dancer, and loved being the center of attention,” the obituary said. “She was sassy but not rude.”

No attorneys have entered appearances on behalf of the defendants in the lawsuit.