June 23, 2018
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Police charge 12-year-old boy with arson in connection with Lewiston fire

Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal | BDN
Russ Dillingham/Sun Journal | BDN
Lewiston Police Chief Michael Bussiere (left) announces that a 12-year-old boy has been charged with arson in connection with the fire in an apartment building on Blake Street in Lewiston on Monday afternoon that spread to two other apartment buildings, displacing 35 families and causing more than a million dollars in damage.
By Ryan McLaughlin, BDN Staff

LEWISTON, Maine — A 12-year-old boy has been charged with three counts of arson in connection with a fire that destroyed three downtown apartment buildings on Monday, police said Thursday.

The boy, whose identity was withheld because of his age, is in custody, according to Lewiston police Chief Michael Bussiere.

Bussiere would not say where the boy is being held, but said eventually he will be taken to a juvenile detention facility.

Monday’s fire, which displaced 75 people and caused more than $1 million in damage, spread quickly from a building at 105 Blake St. to two other buildings, all of which were destroyed. The Blake Street apartment building and another at 72 Bates St. have since been demolished.

The third building at 82 Pine St. is scheduled for demolition in the next week.

Bussiere said more than 50 interviews were conducted over the course of a two-and-a-half-day investigation by police and the state fire marshal’s office.

“We are extremely fortunate that no one was injured or killed,” Bussiere said.

The chief said it’s too early in the process to determine whether the child will be prosecuted as an adult.

“That’ll be a determination that the judge would have to make later on,” said Bussiere. “With his age it’s hard to say.”

Bussiere said no other arrests are expected to be made in connection with the fire. He also acknowledged Lewiston police Detective Bob Morin and Chris Stanford of the fire marshal’s office for their work on the investigation.

If tried as an adult, the boy could face up to 25 years in prison on each Class A arson count.

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