Investigation continues in Bangor arson

Posted Feb. 16, 2011, at 8:17 p.m.

BANGOR, Maine — City police and fire departments and the State Fire Marshal’s Office are investigating an arson that happened last week at a historic Union Street apartment house, Assistant Bangor Fire Chief Rick Cheverie said Wednesday.

Thick, black smoke was visible when the Bangor Fire Department arrived at approximately 10:15 p.m. Feb. 10 at the three-level Victorian-style apartment building at 145 Union St., at the junction of Union and High streets.

Investigators have determined that a couch in one of the many apartments was set on fire, Cheverie said.

“We did a joint investigation with the fire marshal’s office, and we did deter-mine it was an arson,” he said. “Bangor Police Department and the fire marshals are narrowing down their focus to an individual.”

As of Wednesday, no arrests had been made in the arson fire, Bangor police Sgt. Paul Edwards said.

“It’s under investigation,” Sgt. Tim York of the State Fire Marshal’s Office said Wednesday. He described the incident as a “relatively small fire.”

The building, which has about 17 rental units, was evacuated and firefighters “assisted eight individuals with getting out of the building,” Cheverie said.

The fire caused more than $50,000 in damage to the building, which was in the process of being renovated, he said. The building owner had insurance, but the person who rented the room where the fire originated did not, the assistant fire chief said.

“Fire-wise there was not that much damage, but it set off four sprinklers in the unit, and there was a lot of water,” he said, adding the burning couch produced a lot of smoke.

The rental units had heavy, thick oak doors, and “many of those doors were broken,” while evacuating residents, Cheverie said. Some of the building’s light-ing fixtures had standing water in them after firefighters left and cleaners were called in the next day to try and protect the hardwood floors, he said. Officials also required the building owner to hire an electrician to check the building’s electrical system to ensure it was safe before anyone would be allowed to return, Cheverie said.

Firefighters were at the building for around four hours in order to conduct the arson investigation, he said.

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