Wednesday, December 11, 2013
EMBDEN — A 15-year-old boy accused of setting fire to a home Friday afternoon on Brook Drive has been charged with arson, officials said.
Firefighters from three agencies, including Anson, Madison and New Portland, responded to a suspicious fire at 9 Brook Drive in Embden on Friday. It is being investigated by the Office of the State Fire Marshal.
Staff photo by Michael G. Seamans
“He was angry and started the fire,” said Sgt. Ken Grimes, of the state fire marshal’s office, who would not give any more specifics about what prompted the boy to set fire to the house at 9 Brook Drive, where he lived with his mother and two siblings.
The boy, whose name is being withheld because of his age, was detained briefly and released to his mother, Monica Hammock, Grimes said. He is scheduled to appear Dec. 9 in Skowhegan District Court.
Grimes said the home belonged to and was being built by Monica Hammock’s ex-husband, Paul Hammock, although neighbors Bruce and Jaime Danforth said the title belongs to them.
Bruce Danforth, 52, said he’d been helping Hammock with the house construction and the title was in his name. He said the construction on the house was not finished, although the family had been living there for the past four months with no running water or electricity.
Danforth said he had a conflict with the family two days ago, and Friday morning got an eviction order and served it to them shortly before the fire Friday.
His wife, Jaime, said she heard screaming and heard the windows being smashed with an ax before the fire started.
He said he reported the fire to Somerset County dispatchers after watching it ignite from his yard.
The fire originated inside the home. While the outer shell is complete, there were no interior walls, said Grimes.
When firefighters arrived at the scene around 1 p.m. the structure was engulfed in flames, said Anson Fire Chief Jeremy Manzer.
He said although the fire was in a remote area, firefighters had no trouble finding it because there was a tall column of rising smoke that could be seen from miles away.
No one was injured in the fire, but the home was destroyed, said Manzer.
Grimes said the civil property dispute over the home and the property it is on were not a part of Friday’s investigation and that the fire did not involve the Danforth family, who live on a neighboring property separated by woods and a brook.
Monica Hammock and her children said they did not want to comment on the fire. Arson is a class A felony in Maine punishable by up to 30 years in prison and a $50,000 fine.
Firefighters from Anson, Madison and New Portland responded on Friday.
“I just don’t understand why anyone would do that. What if the fire spread? Everyone’s house would go,” said Myrtle Collins, 77, a neighbor across the street.
Rachel Ohm — 612-2368