STOCKTON SPRINGS, Maine — Two fires that kept the Stockton Springs Volunteer Fire Department busy late Wednesday night and early Thursday morning were intentionally set, according to the state fire marshal’s office.
The fires happened at the same U.S. Route 1 residence, said Fire Chief Harry Patterson Jr., with a trucker calling to report spotting the first one about 10:30 p.m. Wednesday. Arriving firefighters found that a 12-by-12-foot shed was burning.
Though they couldn’t save the shed, firefighters were able to put out the fire and save the nearby residence, which was vacant, the chief said.
Then, about 12:15 a.m., two firefighters who were on their way home from the fire station saw that the porch on the other side of the house was on fire. When they stopped to put it out they could smell an accelerant, said Patterson, adding that the firefighters likely missed the firestarter by minutes.
“Another three minutes and we would have had a fully involved house fire,” the chief said.
Patterson already had contacted the fire marshal’s office after the shed fire, because it was suspicious that a shed without electricity next to an unoccupied home would erupt into flames. Investigators arrived about 2 a.m. to check out the scene, according to Sgt. Ken Grimes of the fire marshal’s office.
“So far, our investigation does not indicate that there’s a person running around randomly setting fires,” he said Friday afternoon. “We’re now continuing to follow up with the criminal investigation, collecting information from neighbors or anybody who was intimate with the scene.”
Anyone with information about the fires is encouraged to call the fire marshal’s office at 626-3870. Investigator Jeremy Damren is handling the case.