April 21, 2019
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Maine men accused of setting fire to 150-year-old schoolhouse

CASCO, Maine — Two men are accused of setting fire to a 150-year-old schoolhouse in Casco on Sunday.

Devin Richardson-Gurney, 22, and Edward Scott, 20, were charged with arson, according to the Maine fire marshal’s office.

Fire officials said they were to called to Meadow Road around 5 a.m. Sunday for reports of a fire at the Friends School House, known locally as the Old School House.

No injuries were reported.

Rose Symonds, who along with her husband, Tim, served as curators of the schoolhouse, told the Portland Press Herald that a number of irreplaceable artifacts burned in the fire, including maps showing the boundaries of the early United States that ended at the Mississippi River, schoolbooks, and an announcement declaring the election of George Washington as the first president of the United States.

“We were hopeful of passing this schoolhouse on to future generations, and now it’s gone,” Symonds told the Press Herald. “Once you’ve lost a piece of history, you can’t get it back. I don’t see how we can recover from something like this.”

The schoolhouse was built in 1849.

The Casco Public Library is just feet away from the school house, and librarian Michelle Brenner said they are lucky the library also didn’t catch fire.

“They can’t replace what was lost, and I am grateful the library wasn’t involved. The same thing would happen here; the collection would go up in flames very quickly,” Brenner said.

The Raymond-Casco Historical Society said there was a plan in the works to move the school to South Casco where its museum is located.

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