Teen charged in Cowan Mill fire

LEWISTON — A local boy was arrested Thursday night, charged with setting the fire that burned down the Cowan Mill in July.

Justin Pelletier/Sun Journal

The Cowan Mill burning, taken around 4 p.m.

Investigators from the State Fire Marshal's Office and Lewiston police arrested the 13-year-old boy after interviewing several potential witnesses in recent days.

"We've been working on it heavily all week," said Lewiston police Chief Michael Bussiere. "A lot of legwork went into the investigation."

The boy was not identified Thursday night but it was believed police were led to the suspect after he talked about the fire with classmates. 

The State Fire Marshal's Office said the boy is from Lewiston and that he was charged with arson.

The July 15 blaze leveled the historic mill near the Lewiston side of the Longeley Bridge and caused chaos throughout the city. Several main roads were closed in the downtown area and falling sparks ignited smaller fires in the area.

Almost immediately, police began looking for a group of teenage suspects said to have information about the fast moving fire.

At the time, a team of investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives came to Lewiston to help with the probe. Fire officials said in July that the intensity of the fire made collecting evidence from within the burned remains of the mill difficult.

Police said they were led to several possible witnesses in the nearly three months since the fire. This week, evidence continued to surface and those potential witnesses were interviewed, according to Bussiere. The suspect was questioned at the Lewiston police station before he was arrested and taken to Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland.

Details about how the fire was started were not released.

Sgt. Joel Davis, of the Fire Marshal's Office, said it's possible others will be charged in connection with the fire.The investigation is ongoing, he said and findings will be forwarded to the District Attorney's Office.

Read the Sun Journal's coverage of the Cowan Mill fire at http://www.sunjournal.com/cowanmill

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 's picture

1. Lewiston came within a

1. Lewiston came within a few minutes of a major catastrophe. Thank God for a great stop by the AFD on the roof of Mill 5.

2. I think this story is going to get very interesting from here. Let's watch it develop.

All the best,


 's picture

I could not give a rats

I could not give a rats about this kids name.. But do think he should be severely punished for his actions in this fire.. He put hundreds of lives at risk and caused problems all over the place becuase he acted like a complete moron

 's picture

I strongly feel, that any

I strongly feel, that any kid whom does a crime such as this, or any other crime needs to be named. Protecting this kid is really not protecting him, it is actually hurting him. If they are old enough to do the crime, they certainly are old enough to have their name in print and let the public know what they were up to or have done. It's too bad every state is like this. The law needs to stop protecting these damn kids, especially the 16-18 year olds.

 's picture

That's a bit of a stretch.

That's a bit of a stretch. Can you tell me the lottery numbers for Saturday oh great Sperkle?

 's picture

Breathe Richy. Breathe.

Breathe Richy. Breathe. You really lose all credibility with that kind of post and show your true colors.

 's picture

Never mind charging the kid

Never mind charging the kid Charge his parents for not watching him or knowing where he is. If it were my kid I would have turned him/her in. you have to set examples as parents. If he/she is doing these things imagine what he/she might do next. Stop it now and maybe being thrown in jail as an adult , will scare the crap out of him/her. juvenile det will just make it worse because he/she will still be around people his/her own age. Put him/her in with the big timers and see how he/she likes that.

ERNEST LABBE's picture

We all know whats going to

We all know whats going to happen here. It will be two years before it gets to court, then there will be delays in getting the case tried so that by the time he / she is sentenced the kid will be 17 3/4 then he / she will be forgiven at the age of 18.


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