Intentional fire destroys Occupy Augusta tent

Posted Dec. 05, 2011, at 8:17 p.m.
Last modified Dec. 05, 2011, at 9:18 p.m.

AUGUSTA, Maine — A tent at the Capitol Park encampment of Occupy Augusta was set on fire Monday afternoon, according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

No one was injured in the fire.

The 8-by-12-foot A-frame tent was destroyed and investigators said the fire was intentional, Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety, said in a press release Monday night.

Occupants of the encampment reported the fire as they were returning from a protest at the nearby corner of Capitol and State streets late Monday afternoon, according to McCausland. No one was in the encampment at the time of the fire, which was extinguished by the Augusta Fire Department.

McCausland said no one had been living in the A-frame for more than a week.

Assistant Attorney General Paul Stern expressed concern over possible fires in his brief filed in federal court in Bangor opposing the Occupy Augusta motion for a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction that would allow the group to remain in the park without a permit.

Stern said that Capitol Police and members of the Augusta Fire Department had said that the wood-burning fire pits and propane heaters Occupy members had used or suggested using were not safe considering the hay that was being used as insulation.

Occupy Augusta leader Jim Freeman described the tent as a storage place.

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