BANGOR, Maine — Two local men were arrested and charged with arson Tuesday in connection with a small fire that police say was sparked by a Molotov cocktail.
Though few details were available Tuesday, it appears the fire at 87 Larkin St. was started as retaliation for a brawl Monday night that involved 25 to 30 young men, several of whom were armed with baseball bats, sticks and brass knuckles.
No one was injured in the fire that caused minimal damage to the outside of the house, where some of the men involved in the brawl reportedly live. Police said one male was taken to the hospital with a broken jaw suffered in the fight.
A couple who lives next door to the two-unit apartment building that was struck by the Molotov cocktail said the incident was not typical of their neighborhood, which experiences the occasional speeder or drunk but otherwise is relatively peaceful.
“It was definitely not a typical night,” neighbor Amy Cyr said. “I just don’t want any of this kind of activity on our street.”
Jake Hesseltine, 18, of Old Town and Dwayne Bell, 22, of Bangor were arrested Tuesday and charged with one count each of Class A arson after an investigation by Bangor police detectives and the State Fire Marshal’s Office determined that the fire was set intentionally, according to a news release issued by the Bangor Police Department.
The investigation determined that the fire was started by one of three “Molotov cocktail-type devices” lobbed at the building.
There appeared to be minimal damage to the front of the building Tuesday. The damage appeared to be limited to some melted and charred paint, where one of the Molotov cocktails apparently struck in between the two second-story windows.
Both Hesseltine and Bell remained in Penobscot County Jail on Tuesday night, unable to make cash bail of $5,000 each, a jail supervisor said. Bell also was being held on two warrants for failure to pay fines from unrelated charges, according to jail officials.
Bangor police say the incident began about 11 p.m. Monday night, when they were called to Larkin Street for a report of a fight involving several people, some of whom had weapons.
Neighbor Steven Cyr, who called the police Monday night, said he was alerted to the trouble brewing outside by his black Labrador retriever, Chewie.
He and his wife, Amy, said they could see about a dozen young males on the street outside of 87 Larkin St. who appeared to be getting “hyped up” and ready to fight.
Many were armed with sticks and bats, he said. Shortly afterward a silver-colored pickup truck showed up carrying another dozen or so males, most of them riding in the truck’s bed. A brawl began, but most of the participants quickly dispersed once police arrived.
During the brawl, a male, whose name was not released, suffered a broken jaw, according to police. He was taken to Eastern Maine Medical Center for treatment. No further information on his medical condition was available Tuesday.
Police confiscated a baseball bat and brass knuckles from participants in the fracas.
Police were called back to Larkin Street about 5:15 a.m. Tuesday for a report that the building at 87 Larkin St. was on fire.
Amy Cyr said she called 911 after Chewie began barking and growling again. She said she looked outside and saw two young males, both dressed in dark clothing and at least one wearing a knit hat.
The two fled on foot, she said, running between the Cyr residence and 87 Larkin St., where some of the young men involved in Monday night’s fight are believed to be renting the upstairs apartment.
The Cyrs said Tuesday that the upstairs unit next door initially was rented by four young men who “seemed like pretty good kids.” In recent months, however, they have seen a “revolving door of roommates” in and out of the apartment.
“Sometimes it’s hard to tell who’s living there and who’s visiting,” Amy Cyr said.
The incident remained under investigation Tuesday, according to the police release, which also said further details might be forthcoming later.