Bangor police are trying to identify a man who may have had a role in setting fire to a sign at the front entrance of the Bangor Historical Society’s Thomas A. Hill House at around 3:30 p.m. Saturday.
The fire destroyed the sign — which consisted of a sheet of paper announcing the building’s hours inside a plastic holder — and left singe marks on the siding of the 183-year-old Greek Revival-style home at 159 Union Street.
The fire occurred as the historical society was wrapping up its annual Holidays at the Hill House event, shortly before another celebration, the Festival of Lights Parade, was set to begin in downtown Bangor.
On Tuesday, Sgt. Wade Betters of the Bangor Police Department said that investigators are trying to identify a “person of interest” in the suspected arson. He shared a low-resolution video that showed the man wearing sunglasses, a light baseball cap, dark pants and a yellow-orange t-shirt over a dark hooded sweatshirt.
Betters asked anyone with information about the case to contact Det. Aaron Brooker at 947-7384 ext. 5743 or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org, or to contact an anonymous tip line by dialing 947-7384 and selecting option 3.
Mike Melochick, executive director of the Bangor Historical Society, said he’s thankful the fire didn’t cause serious damage to the Hill House, which hosts the historical society and is considered a major part of its collection. A woman who was walking down to the Festival of Lights Parade saw the burn and reported it to authorities, according to Melochick.
A contractor who works on historical structures has already done an initial inspection of the damage and determined it to be minor. The organization has not yet determined if it will contact insurers to help pay for the repair. Melochick also said the organization will now assess how it can better secure the Hill House and protect it from fires.
“It’s an unfortunate incident that could have been much worse,” Melochick said. “It’s the most valuable item in our collection. People don’t think of it as part of our collection, but it is. It’s the crown jewel.”