COLUMBIA, Maine — A local man is facing a criminal charge in connection with a fire last weekend that damaged some cabins on blueberry land in neighboring Township 19.
Sgt. Tim York of the State Fire Marshal’s Office said Tuesday that Christopher Bailey, 18, is accused of starting a blaze that destroyed one cabin and caused minor damage to three others.
“He’s been charged with arson,” York said.
York said other people are likely to face criminal charges in connection with the same incident, which occurred around midnight Saturday.
The cabins were on land owned by Allen’s Blueberry Freezer Inc. of Ellsworth, according to York and District Ranger Jeff Currier of the Maine Forest Service. The cabins were vacant, having been occupied most recently by seasonal Allen’s employees last summer.
York said the property is 11 miles north of Columbia Falls on Tibbettstown Road, near a military radar site.
“It’s out in the middle of nowhere,” York said.
According to Currier, the fire is not believed to be connected with several suspicious woods fires that have occurred in the region in recent weeks. Those fires, which include an April 28 blaze in Columbia that burned 85 acres of immature forest, also are still under investigation by the Maine Forest Service, he said.
Towns where other suspicious woods or brush fires occurred in late April include Harrington, Township 10 in Hancock County, and another smaller blaze in Columbia.
Currier said the Maine Forest Service was called to the May 2 cabin fire because it initially was believed to be in the woods, though this turned out not to be the case. Ranger Andrew Gacek was one of the first to arrive on the scene and was able gather evidence and to identify people as possible suspects, Currier said.
The Fire Marshal’s Office now is leading the investigation of the cabin fire, with assistance from the Forest Service and Maine State Police, according to officials.
“It was a great collaboration between multiple agencies,” Currier said.
York declined to say how investigators came across Bailey as a suspect in the fire.
“It’s an ongoing investigation,” he said.
According to officers at the Washington County Jail in Machias, Bailey still was being held at the facility late Tuesday afternoon.