2 men charged with arson in 3rd Lewiston fireAP , Associated Press
May. 11, 2013 1:32 PM ET
LEWISTON, Maine (AP) — Two men facing arson charges in connection with one of three major fires in downtown Lewiston that destroyed nine buildings and displaced more than 180 people are expected to make their first court appearance on Monday or Tuesday.
Bryan Wood, 23, and Brian Morin, 29, were each charged Friday with three counts of arson for a May 6 blaze that destroyed two vacant apartment houses and a third structure behind the apartments, the State Fire Marshal's Office said. Wood lives in an apartment a few doors down from fires on Bartlett Street; Morin's described as a transient who's been staying with Wood.
In announcing the arrests, police and fire officials wouldn't give a motive for the fire or say how it started. Lewiston Police Chief Michael Bussiere said he hopes the arrests will ease the fears of residents who were afraid that other buildings would be targeted.
"It's been a long week," Bussiere said. "Some people should sleep easier tonight."
The latest arrests have no known connection to two earlier fires on April 29 and May 3 that destroyed several nearby apartment houses, officials said. Two 12-year-old boys have been charged in those fires.
The string of fires prompted police and other city officials to step up police patrols and inspections of abandoned and condemned buildings, while social service agencies scrambled to locate housing for people who were burned out of their apartments.
On the morning of the last fire, Morin was taken into custody and questioned for six hours. He told reporters later in the morning that Wood told police he had set the fire in retaliation for his not being able to pay Wood rent money he owed him.
Wood and Morin are being held without bail in the Androscoggin County Jail.