WEST PARIS – A teenager was charged with arson Tuesday, accused of setting a fire that burned the wooden grandstand at the Harold C. Perham Athletic Complex last month.

Investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s Office arrested the West Paris teen Tuesday morning after leads led to the boy as a suspect in the blaze.

On the afternoon of July 24, fire crews went to the complex on High Street and found the bleachers fully engulfed.

Crews contained the blaze to the area, but by the time it was over, the historic grandstand was gone and the shell around it was destroyed. The shell had to be knocked over with a bucket loader.

From the start, fire officials believed the blaze was set. The area beneath the bleachers had been used for storage but there was no electricity running to it, according to fire Chief Norm St. Pierre.

The grandstand consisted of 70- by 30-foot bleachers and was at least 60 years old, St. Pierre said. It was a popular spot for watching baseball or for getting out of the sun on a hot day.

Though plans to rebuild the grandstand are being worked out, St. Pierre said the quick arrest in the case brought some sense of finality after the blaze.

“At least it will help the people of this town to feel a little safer,” he said.

Investigators did not identify the teenager who was arrested on Tuesday because he is a juvenile. He was taken into custody awaiting court action.


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