June 19, 2018
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Court appearance slated for firefighter in arson case

By Jen Lynds, BDN Staff

CARIBOU, Maine — A Presque Isle firefighter charged with arson in connection with a blaze that burned down Northeast Packaging Co.’s Presque Isle warehouse last year is expected back in court in September for a hearing on the case.

Aroostook County District Attorney Neale Adams said Tuesday that a docket call for Timothy J. MacFarline’s case was scheduled to take place in May. A docket call is a court appearance for the defendant and his attorney to report on the status of the case, such as whether the defendant would like to proceed to trial.

The May hearing was continued until September, Adams said.

The continuance was requested so that an evaluation could be conducted on behalf of the defendant, according to court officials. MacFarline’s attorney, Richard Currier of Presque Isle, said Tuesday that he could not comment on what type of evaluation was being conducted.

MacFarline, 24, of Easton was arrested and charged last Nov. 15, just two days after a fire gutted the warehouse. MacFarline was a member of the Presque Isle Fire Department’s 33-person call staff and worked at Northeast Packaging Co. He is no longer employed by either the department or the company.

MacFarline was arrested after a joint investigation by the Presque Isle Fire Department, Presque Isle Police Department, an evidence recovery technician from the Maine State Police and the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

The Rice Street fire, which started around 10 p.m. Nov. 13, destroyed the 150-foot-by-300-foot metal structure and its contents, according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Firefighters from six communities were on the scene for more than 13 hours.

Northeast Packaging Co. warehoused paper, plastic, and barrels of ink and alcohol solvent.

Firefighters said that when they arrived, flames were visible throughout the rear of the building and were starting to chew through the roof. Crews were forced to fight the flames from outside.

Senior investigator Tim Lowell of the State Fire Marshal’s Office arrested MacFarline after a review of evidence from the scene and witnesses’ statements. He said security cameras at a nearby business and assistance from Seacoast Security officials helped in the investigation.

MacFarline posted $5,000 cash bail the day after his arrest.

He was indicted by the Aroostook County grand jury in January and was later arraigned in Aroostook County Superior Court. Currier said Tuesday that MacFarline has not yet entered a plea in the case.

The maximum sentence for arson is 30 years in prison.

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