November 29, 2012

Augusta man denies guilt in Water Street arson case


AUGUSTA -- A city man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to charges of arson and mischief in connection with a late night fire this spring at Capitol Computers in which he had to be rescued by firefighters.

Tyler Uehling, 23, formerly of Sioux City, Iowa, has been in Kennebec County jail since the April 14 fire at the store on Water Street.

Uehling, listed as a transient at the time of the fire, has been indicted on two counts of arson and one of aggravated criminal mischief.

Investigators said Uehling used a lighter to set a door on fire in an alley that faces the Colonial Theater.

After Augusta firefighters put out the blaze, they heard someone call for help. They found Uehling trapped in an area between buildings, and firefighters had to cut through the basement wall to rescue him. He was not injured in the fire, but had several cuts from a broken window, according to a fire investigator.

Uehling told investigators he was being chased and that he lit the fire as a "signaling device."

Bail on the charges in the indictment is set at $1,000. An indictment is not a determination of guilt, but indicates that there is enough evidence to proceed with formal charges and a trial.

The indictment was handed up by a Kennebec County grand jury Oct. 31, but not executed until recently. Uehling is also being held without bail on a charge of violating probation.

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