MEDWAY, Maine — State fire marshals charged a local man with arson Friday in connection with the latest of what investigators describe as four intentionally set fires in Medway. The man is the latest of seven arson suspects charged by the State Fire Marshal’s Office this week in unrelated fires statewide.
Douglas J. Deloge, 39, of Medway, was arrested Friday afternoon at the East Millinocket Public Safety Building, where he had been questioned about a fire that destroyed a vacant house at 157 Pattagumpus Road early Thursday on Deloge’s birthday, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.
“Witnesses saw him [Deloge] in the area after the fire,” said Sgt. Tim York of the fire marshal’s office.
From the witness identifications, investigators developed other leads connecting Deloge to the fire, York said. He declined to provide details.
Three other arsons have occurred in town since late October, McCausland said in a statement. The statement does not say whether Deloge is a suspect in those fires. York declined to comment on that possibility.
The fires destroyed a pickup truck on Pinkham Camp Road near Salmon Stream at 4:15 a.m. Oct. 28 and two abandoned houses near 988 Medway Road (Route 157) at about 8 p.m. Sunday, Medway firefighters have said.
State police and Medway firefighters may believe the pickup truck incident is arson, York said, but his investigators haven’t begun investigating that fire because the incident hasn’t yet been referred to them.
The latest fire, on Pattagumpus Road, was reported at about 3:50 a.m. Thursday. The first firefighter to arrive, Medway Fire Chief John Lee, arrived in his own vehicle at 3:55 a.m. with a department fire engine about a minute behind.
Lee said he knew immediately that the house was too far gone for firefighters to risk an interior attack and that the fire might have suspicious origins. The owner of the one-story structure, identified as Paul Burleigh, is said to be in Florida on vacation.
The house hasn’t been lived in for three or four years and had no utilities, Assistant Fire Chief Brian McLaughlin has said.
The parallels that investigators have said they see among the four fires are tenuous but involve a mix of several similarities, including timing, area and methodology. All but one occurred in the vicinity of Salmon Stream and two were reported between 3:30 and 4:30 a.m. Three involved abandoned dwellings.
Deloge is being held at Penobscot County Jail on $50,000 cash bail or $25,000 surety bail, a jail spokesman said. If he makes bail, he will be arraigned in Superior Court on Jan. 14. If he fails to make bail, he is due in court on Monday.
In Augusta, meanwhile, two men were arrested Thursday night after being indicted by the Kennebec County grand jury on arson charges earlier in the day.
Fire marshals arrested Manley D. Davis, 55, of Augusta, on two counts of arson and two counts of conspiracy to commit arson. The charges stem from fires that damaged his home on Murray Street in Augusta in January 2008 and destroyed his car in Belgrade in September 2005, state police said.
Investigators contend that Davis paid another man to set the two fires. That other man, Ronald Hanson Jr. of Augusta, earlier had pleaded guilty to his involvement in the fires.
The second Augusta arson arrest was that of Jack D. Vogel, 53, of Augusta, who was indicted in connection with a fire at his Middle Street home in August. Augusta police arrested Vogel on Thursday night. That fire also had been investigated by fire marshals.
Also this week:
• A 14-year-old boy was charged with arson Thursday in connection with a fire Wednesday that destroyed a restroom at Morse High School in Bath.
• Brandon Davis, 19, of Gorham, was charged with arson Wednesday in connection with a fire Tuesday afternoon at the abandoned Keddy Steel Mill building in Windham.
• Jeffrey A. Tyler, 28, of Bethel, was charged with two counts of arson Tuesday in connection with fires that destroyed two vacant houses in Locke Mills earlier that day. Tyler was a volunteer firefighter with the Greenwood department.
• Timothy MacFarline, 23, of Easton, was arrested Sunday and charged for the Friday night fire that burned down the Northeast Packaging Co. storage warehouse in Presque Isle. He was an on-call firefighter with the Presque Isle Fire Department.