LEWISTON, Maine — Another 12-year-old boy has been arrested on arson charges in a second major fire in Lewiston in less than a week, and the fires together left 180 people homeless, authorities said Saturday.
The two fires were just blocks apart.
The boy, whose name was not released, was arrested on four counts of arson for the late Friday fire that destroyed three apartment buildings and left 105 people homeless, state and local authorities said in a news release.
About 20 families, many of them Somali immigrants, were displaced by the fire, and many spent the night at Lewiston High School, the Sun Journal of Lewiston reported. One minor injury was reported.
A different 12-year-old boy was charged Thursday with setting a Monday fire that destroyed four apartment buildings and left 75 people homeless. The boy, whose name also was not released, is to be arraigned Monday.
Investigators determined the Friday fire started in a vacant garage next to a condemned apartment and quickly spread, Maine Department of Public Safety spokesman Steve McCausland said in the release. Damage from the blaze was estimated at $1 million.
Police told the Portland Press Herald that witnesses reported seeing a young man fleeing from the scene around that time. The fire sent forth thick plumes of black smoke that could be seen from miles away. The night sky lit up with orange and red from the flames.
Adriana Garcia, the manager of a building where one of the fires broke out, told the Sun Journal that one of the displaced residents is a brother of Governor Paul LePage. City fire officials didn’t immediately return a call from The Associated Press seeking comment, and the governor’s spokeswoman, Adrienne Bennett, said she was checking into the report.
The boy was arrested Saturday and was being held at the Long Creek Correction facility for juveniles, pending a court appearance Monday or Tuesday, McCausland said. Officials said others may be charged.