Berman & Simmons files wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Bangor parade victim’s widow

The Berman & Simmons law firm has filed a wrongful death lawsuit on behalf of Lorena Fenlason of Holden, whose husband was crushed to death by an antique firetruck during the 2013 Independence Day parade in Bangor, Maine.

Attorney Daniel Kagan filed the complaint in Penobscot Superior Court against the City of Bangor, the Kiwanis Club of Bangor, and the driver of the antique firetruck.

The filing of the lawsuit was a major news story in Maine over the past week. Click on the links to read the coverage in the Bangor Daily News, the Portland Press Herald, WCSH6 TV, and WABI TV5, the CBS affiliate for northern Maine.

Wallace Fenlason, 63, was driving his antique John Deere tractor in the parade, as he had done for many years. Behind Fenlason was the City of Bangor’s 1930 McCann firetruck driven by a Bangor firefighter. The parade had been rerouted at the last minute because Bangor police were dealing with an armed standoff. The new route diverted the parade vehicles down a steep section of Water Street. On this hill, when Fenlason slowed his tractor to keep a safe distance from the vehicles ahead of him, the antique firetruck’s brakes failed. The firetruck ran into Fenlason’s tractor, knocked him to the ground, and rolled over him. The Maine State Police investigation revealed the antique firetruck had insufficient brake fluid, and the fluid it did have was contaminated with water.

In the complaint, Attorney Kagan claims the defendants in the pending lawsuit did not take the proper measures to protect the safety of participants and spectators at the popular annual parade.

“Mr. Fenlason’s death should not have happened. Safety must always be the first priority of any public event, whether it’s a parade, a fair, or an amusement ride. We want Wallace’s death to mean something, so that in the future everyone will remember that safety can coexist with fun, but safety always has to come first,” Kagan said.

“Wallace was a loving husband, father, grandfather and friend. He is someone who spent much of his life helping others,” said Kagan. “He was only 63 years old. He had many years ahead of him to spend time with his wife, and watch his grandchildren grow up.”

Continued Kagan: “Wally Fenlason loved the parade, he loved what it stood for, he loved gathering with his community. No one wants Bangor’s parades to end. What we want is to make sure, in the future, that the parade is safe, so families can continue to enjoy it.”