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Fire that destroyed Grindstone cabin, possible hate crime still under investigation

Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Nick Sambides Jr. | BDN
Investigators are working to determine what started the fire that destroyed a cabin in Grindstone on Saturday, Oct. 14, 2012.
By Nick Sambides Jr., BDN Staff

GRINDSTONE, Maine — Investigators continue to work to determine whether a fire on Oct. 13 that state officials are investigating as a possible hate crime was arson, the case’s supervisor said Tuesday.

“We have just been tied up on other investigations,” Sgt. Tim York of the Maine fire marshal’s office said Tuesday.

“It is important to us,” said York, who was among the investigators handling the investigation of a fire in Orrington on Saturday that killed a father and his three young children.

No one was injured in the Oct. 13 fire, which destroyed a recently renovated cabin on Grindstone Road.

Three anti-gay slurs were spray-painted in large black letters on the front of a shed and on what looked like part of a roof of a smaller structure near the remains of the cabin, which is on the Penobscot River.

The camp’s occupants were not there, but might have been earlier in the day, East Millinocket firefighters have said.

The slurs prompted York to immediately contact the Maine attorney general’s office, which typically investigates violations or potential violations of civil rights. Brenda Kielty, that office’s spokeswoman, did not immediately return a message left Tuesday.

York said he did not know whether the fire or the painting of the slurs had yet been classified as a civil rights violation.

A 911 call reporting the fire came in at about 12:07 a.m. Oct. 13.
Neighbors reported that they had heard an explosion. When the first East Millinocket firefighters arrived around 20 minutes later, the roof of the one-story structure had collapsed and flames were demolishing the rest of the building, firefighters said.

Efforts by the Bangor Daily News to contact the camp’s occupants have been unsuccessful.

The Grindstone Road property was put up for sale in September.

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