May 5, 2012

Teen charged in Togus Pond arson

AUGUSTA — A teenager has been charged with setting the fire that destroyed an island home on Togus Pond.

Augusta Police Sgt. Christopher Shaw said the 15-year-old boy has been charged with arson and burglary in connection with the fire and with break-ins at four other camps on the lake.

Shaw was unsure whether the teen would be detained or released to his custodians.

The boy’s name was withheld because he is a juvenile.

Nobody was injured during the fire.

Shaw declined to discuss specifics of the ongoing investigation but said police are confident the teen is responsible the fire.

Police believe the teen broke into five homes, including one on Young Road, and four on Coon Island on Togus Pond.

“He broke into all four residences on Coon Island and one of the houses was burned flat to the ground,” Shaw said. “It’s a complete loss.”

Augusta resident Allison Ames, who owns the home, lives on the island three seasons per year. Officials were unsure if the home was insured.

Shaw said all four camps on the island were damaged during the break ins. Most of that damage consisted of broken doors and windows. Shaw declined to specify how or why the teen allegedly set the fire that destroyed the one camp.

Augusta Police detectives spent much of Saturday on the island collecting evidence, Shaw said.

The fire broke out shortly after 4:30 p.m., said Augusta Fire Battalion Chief Daniel Guimond. Crews scrambled quickly, but the first crew to arrive at the boat launch, a private camp site on Tasker Road, could see the house was engulfed in flames and sections had already collapsed, Guimond said.

Firefighters used portable pumps to blast the flames with water, Guimond said.

The fire was out by 6:30 p.m., and the last of the crews left a little over an hour later.

Firefighter helped take Augusta Police and State Fire Marshal’s Office investigators to the island on Saturday morning. At the same time Augusta firefighters extinguished a few hot spots in debris that remained of the house, Guimond said.

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