East Dixfield firefighter faces arson charge

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WILTON — An East Dixfield firefighter is charged with setting fire last week to the Countryfolk Music Theatre on Route 2, where he was a caretaker, state fire marshal investigator Joel Davis said Monday.

Jason Baldwin, 28, of East Dixfield, a member of the East Dixfield Fire Department, admitted to the crime during questioning by investigators from the state fire marshal’s office, Davis said.

Baldwin apparently discovered the fire Oct. 15 and was one of the neighbors who used fire extinguishers to knock it down, Davis said. 

The reason may have been that he was seeking attention, Davis said.

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Baldwin, who was a caretaker of the property owned by Larry Bisbee, apparently broke into the small cabin and started the fire from combustible materials such as paper in a hallway in the entryway, Davis said. Minimal damage was done.

The theater is west of East Dixfield village.

Baldwin joined the Fire Department in May, according to fire Chief Randy Hall, Davis said. 

“The department is a great group of guys who are devastated,” Davis said.

Wilton and East Dixfield firefighters responded to the fire at about 4 p.m. Wednesday and found it was out when they arrived. Wilton fire Chief Sonny Dunham called the fire suspicious and asked an investigator with the state fire marshal’s office to determine the cause.

In April 2012, sparks from Bisbee’s chimney caused a woods fire that burned four of six cabins and Bisbee’s home.

This past summer was the 15th year of concerts at the Countryfolk Music Theater founded by Bisbee.

abryant@sunjournal.com

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