Farmington store fire ruled arson; public’s help sought

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FARMINGTON — A fire that heavily damaged the Falls General Store and the apartment above it last week has been ruled an arson, Sgt. Joel Davis of the Maine Office of State Fire Marshal said Tuesday.

State fire investigators, Farmington firefighters and police set up a checkpoint on Tuesday night on Croswell Street handing drivers fliers and asking if they might have seen something the night of April 4.

The fire at 176 Croswell St. was reported just before 11 p.m.

Store co-owners Daniel Searles and Lori Berry, who lived in the apartment above the store, were on vacation at the time of the fire. The building was insured.

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Flames were showing on one side of the store when about 34 firefighters from Farmington, Chesterville, Industry, Jay, New Sharon, Temple and Wilton, and Farmington police and NorthStar EMS ambulance personnel responded to the scene.

Besides fire damage, there is smoke and water damage, Farmington Lt. Tim “TD” Hardy previously said.

Davis said officials know where and how the fire started but declined to release that information because of the ongoing investigation.

Anyone who may have information on the case or who may have seen something is asked to call the Fire Marshal Arson Hot Line at 1-888-870-6162; Franklin County Regional Communications Center at 207-778-6140 for Farmington Police Department; or Central Maine Regional Communications Center at 207-624-7076. Refer tips information to senior investigator Stewart Jacobs or investigators Kenneth G. MacMaster or Jeremy Damren, all from the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office.

“The investigating agencies value the assistance from citizens; and we welcome your assistance to solve the crime,” according to the flier.

dperry@sunmediagroup.net

Senior state fire investigator Stewart Jacobs talked to a motorist Tuesday night at a checkpoint on Croswell Street in Farmington in hopes of getting information on a fire that damaged Falls General Store on the street April 4. The fire was set, investigators said.

State fire investigators, Farmington firefighters and police handed out fliers Tuesday night asking for the public’s assistance in solving a fire that heavily damaged the Falls General Store on Croswell Street in Farmington last week. The fire has been ruled arson, said Sgt. Joel Davis of the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office.

The Mobile Command Center from the Maine Office of State Fire Marshal was in the parking lot of Falls General Store on Tuesday night as state fire investigators, Farmington firefighters and police conducted an informational checkpoint to solve an intentionally set fire that heavily damaged the store late April 4 on Croswell Road in Farmington.

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