April 25, 2018
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Presque Isle fireman pleads guilty in case of warehouse arson

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 has pleaded guilty to the charge, Aroostook County District Attorney Neale Adams said Wednesday.

Timothy J. MacFarline, 25, of Easton has not yet been scheduled for sentencing.

MacFarline’s case was scheduled for docket call 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 late September, which is when MacFarline entered his plea in Aroostook County Superior Court in Caribou.

MacFarline was arrested and charged 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 members of the Presque Isle Fire Department, Presque Isle Police Department, Maine State Police and the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

The Rice Street fire, which started about 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. housed 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.

Aroostook County Deputy District Attorney Carrie Linthicum said Wednesday she suspected the 25-year-old’s sentencing would take place in January. She said MacFarline will have a psychological evaluation before his sentencing hearing.

The maximum sentence for arson is 30 years in prison.

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