POLICE BEAT

After morning fire in Gorham ruled accidental, another arson reported

Posted April 11, 2012, at 11:04 p.m.

GORHAM, Maine — A fire reported Wednesday night is being blamed on arson, the fifth suspicious fire in the community in two weeks.

The fire, involving a house under construction at 54 Dingley Spring Road, was reported about 8:40 p.m., according to Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

McCausland said damage to the building was minimal but fire marshals sent a team to Gorham to work on the case with local police and fire officials.

Another fire early Wednesday morning at a small home on County Road was ruled accidental despite authorities’ initial concerns that it might be suspicious in origin.

That fire was ruled accidental Wednesday afternoon after officials from the Gorham Police Department, Gorham Fire Department and state fire marshal’s office reviewed the investigation findings, McCausland said in a news release.

After finding and interviewing the homeowner, investigators determined that Wednesday morning’s fire began in an electrical heater that the homeowner had been working on Tuesday.

Given that, authorities determined that the fire was not connected to the four Gorham arson investigations now under way.

The four suspicious fires occurred over the past two weeks and involved a garage, two vacant homes and a former grange hall, McCausland said. He said fire officials concluded the house and grange fires were deliberately set.

McCausland said a team of 10 police and fire investigators is following up on leads in several Gorham neighborhoods.

Residents are encouraged to keep a watchful eye on their neighborhoods and report any suspicious activities, he said.

Anyone with information regarding the arson fires should call Gorham police at 839-5581.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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