AUBURN — Two women charged in connection with a fire last year at a Livermore Falls store pleaded not guilty in Androscoggin County Superior Court on Thursday.
Erica Poland-Rolfe, 29, of Livermore Falls had been indicted on two counts of arson, each punishable by up to 30 years in prison. One count was for being involved in a fire on July 26 that recklessly endangered a person of the property of another, and the other count for being involved in a fire that enabled a person to collect insurance proceeds for a loss caused by the fire.
Her $15,000 cash bail was not changed Thursday.
Nicole E. Hennessey, 31, of Wilton was indicted on a single count of arson. She remained free on her personal recognizance.
Roland-Rolfe owned the JP Corner Store on Pleasant Street, Livermore Falls, police said. She hired Miguel Cedeno, 21, of Livermore Falls to burn down her store for $4,000 in an effort to collect on the insurance and use the settlement to open a daycare center, according to police. Cedeno was held at Somerset County Jail.
He told state fire investigator Christopher Stanford that he and Hennessey got containers of gasoline and went to the store. They both poured gasoline through the store's air conditioner cutout in an exterior wall. Hennessey acted as lookout while Cedeno lit the gasoline, according to an affidavit by Stanford.
Fire crews who responded to the 2:30 a.m. blaze were able to quickly knock down flames, limiting damage to about $200, fire officials said.
It took little time for state fire investigators to rule the blaze an arson.
Poland-Rolfe, who bought the store in October 2009, closed it for a short time following the fire. She reopened the business but closed it again.
It opened late under new management.
The Androscoggin County District Attorney's Office sought to have the three cases joined for trial.