A Bucksport woman allegedly set five fires and strung toilet paper along the floor throughout her home before disappearing into the woods of Bucksport and Orland for eight days, according to court documents released Wednesday.
Aza Jerome Vasylyk, 56, of Bucksport was arrested late Tuesday after she was found and detained at the Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery in Orland and then taken to a Bangor hospital for evaluation.
She is accused of setting fire Nov. 11 to a home she shares with her husband Timothy Jerome on Town Farm Road in Bucksport and then setting off into the woods for more than a week.
Three of the fires set inside the house appeared to go out on their own soon after they were lit, the Fire Marshal’s Office wrote in a probable cause report filed in Hancock County Unified Criminal Court. A pile of clothes, a stack of books and a roll of toilet paper on the floor all had been on fire but those fires had gone out, according to the report.
The fire marshal’s investigator in the case, Larry Morrill, wrote that an outbuilding on the property had been set on fire and already “burned flat” when the local fire department arrived, while another set on a couch inside the house caused extensive damage to the living room but did not spread to other rooms. The rest of the house had heavy smoke and water damage, however.
Morrill wrote that Vasylyk apparently used white spray paint to paint the letters “SOS” on several items found at the fire scene, including a basement window, a wood splitter and a glass door that was lying on top of three clear garbage bags in the front yard that contained several old Bibles.
Vasylyk had been taking mental health medication but recently had stopped taking it, according to the investigator. She had also left home on her bike a couple weeks before the fire and turned up in Glenburn, Morrill wrote in the report.
“She was returned home without incident,” he wrote.
Morrill also wrote that Vasylyk’s husband suspected right away that his wife was responsible for the fire. He wrote that, according to a Bucksport police officer, Jerome was notified at work that his house was on fire and, when he arrived at the house, blurted out “she did this!”
Jerome allegedly then tried to enter the house while local firefighters were trying to extinguish the blaze and then was arrested on misdemeanor charges of obstructing government administration and refusing to submit to detention. He bailed out later that day on $500 cash.
When Vasylyk was spotted Monday in the woods in Orland near Great Pond Mountain by local hunters, “she was not wearing blaze orange clothing but was wrapped up in clear plastic bags.”
Vasylyk, a Ukrainian by birth who does not speak English well, then walked off again into the woods. She was not seen again until the next day, when a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service agent spotted her while he was setting up game cameras in the woods around the Craig Brook National Fish Hatchery in Orland in an attempt to find her. The federal officer detained Vasylyk and, when local police arrived, Vasylyk tried to explain what happened.
“I go for police because I know fire bad,” Morrill wrote, quoting what Vasylyk allegedly said. “I did fire for me. It was for me and the structure half mine and now it is gone.”