November 22, 2013

Unhappy tenant allegedly sets fire to Augusta apartment building

Christina M. Karod, 21, was arrested a few hours after the fire and charged with arson, say police.

By Craig Crosby
Staff Writer

AUGUSTA — A woman was charged with arson Thursday after reportedly setting fires inside a North Street rooming house where she was an unhappy tenant.

click image to enlarge

Christina M. KAROD

Contributed photo

Christina M. Karod, 21, was arrested a few hours after the fire and charged with arson, said Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland.

Augusta Fire Chief Roger Audette said the fires were quickly extinguished by a tenant who suffered a minor burn on his hand while dousing the flames. The burn did not require treatment.

Audette estimated the fires caused less than $1,000 damage to the building.

Firefighters ventilated the building to remove the smoke and the tenants were allowed to return to their homes.

Firefighters were called to the rooming house at 30 North St. just before 8 p.m. The building has 15 units, 12 of which are occupied by about 15 people who share common cooking, bathroom and living areas, McCausland said.

An affidavit filed in Kennebec County Superior Court by investigator Mary MacMaster of the state fire marshal’s office said Karod started three fires on the second floor. She reportedly set fire to several books in a reading area and to a curtain on an exit door.

MacMaster wrote that Karod, previously of Rockport, admitted to setting two of the fires.

“Christina stated that she has a lot of problems in the building and that she would prefer to be in Rockport, closer to her family,” MacMaster wrote.

Karod made her first appearance via video Friday in Kennebec County Superior Court, where Judge Beth Dobson set bail at $2,500. Karod was being held Friday evening at the Kennebec County jail. Dobson, who warned Karod she faced up to 30 years in prison for the class A charge, ordered the woman to live with her father, John Karod, of Rockport, and observe an 8 p.m. to 6 a.m. curfew if she is freed on bail. Christina Karod also must stay away from 30 North St.

Audette said Thursday’s fire is an example of why the city has to make sure buildings meet fire and code guidelines. The rooming house, owned by Larry Fleury’s River City Realty, has fully functional smoke detectors that warned residents and was equipped with an alarm that automatically notified the fire department. In this case, one of the tenants alerted by the beeping smoke detectors was able to put the fire out before it spread.

“The good thing is everyone was out,” Audette said. “All the tenants got out because the fire alarm system worked. It did exactly what it was supposed to do.”

Craig Crosby —
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