ROCKLAND, Maine — A 35-year-old Rockland woman told investigators that she set her apartment on fire in an attempt to kill herself because she was distraught over the death two years earlier of her mother in a fire.
Christie Look was arrested Tuesday, Feb. 7, and taken to the Knox County Jail. She is scheduled to make an initial court appearance Wednesday afternoon, Feb. 8, in 6th District Court in Rockland. She was charged with two counts of arson for the fire that occurred Dec. 1, 2011, at a four-unit apartment building at 25 Talbot Ave.
An affidavit filed Feb. 7 in district court by Maine State Fire Marshal investigator Kenneth MacMaster details the investigation that led to Look’s arrest. Members of the Rockland police and fire departments also investigated the fire.
The fire heavily damaged the apartment that Look and her boyfriend lived in and caused smoke damage to the other apartments. There were no injuries but damage estimates totaled more than $50,000.
The fire was initially considered to have started accidentally in Look’s apartment from a candle that fell on clothing.
But on the evening of the fire, Look’s brother Steven Look called police to say that he believed his sister was responsible for the fire, according to the affidavit. Her sister Nicole Look also told police that her sister Christie Look had admitted to setting the fire.
The siblings told investigators that their sister was in some sort of mental health crisis and that she set the fire because she missed her mother so much. Their mother had died in a fire in January 2010 in New Jersey. The sister also said Christie Look had medical issues, according to the affidavit.
Christie Look admitted to police in an interview Dec. 2 that she was responsible for intentionally setting the fire. She had set fire to clothes in a suitcase that was in the apartment’s kitchen. She said she set the fire in a suicide attempt.
Her boyfriend Matthew Crosman told police he had been taking a shower and when he came out of the bathroom, the apartment was on fire.
Christie Look agreed voluntarily to go to Pen Bay Medical Center in Rockport for a mental health evaluation, the affidavit stated.
The damage to the apartment building was estimated at $40,000, according to Sumner Kinney of Kinney Rentals, which manages the apartment. That estimate did not include loss of rental income. The building is owned by Bruce and Leah Braithwaite of Fort Pierce, Fla. and is valued at $194,500.
The tenants interviewed by investigators estimated their loss of personal belongings at more than $10,000.