Sardine plant fire was arson

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BATH (AP) – Investigators said Monday they have determined that last week’s $1 million fire that swept through the former Stinson Seafood sardine cannery along the Kennebec River was deliberately set.

The state fire marshal’s office would not comment on possible suspects but said it was following up various leads.

The arson determination was made after a 90-minute meeting in Bath involving representatives of the fire marshal’s office, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and the Bath police and fire departments.

Officials disclosed no details on how the fire started, but said evidence was being examined at the arson section of the Maine State Police Crime Lab in Augusta and additional interviews were being conducted.

Three separate callers reported the fire to the Bath 911 center and investigators were seeking the identity of two callers who used pay phones in the Bath area, said Stephen McCausland, spokesman for the state Department of Public Safety.

No injuries were reported in the predawn fire Thursday that destroyed the vacant building that closed a year ago and was sold to a developer who hoped to convert it into condominiums.

Electrical power to the building had been shut off for months.

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