LEWISTON — A local boy was arrested Thursday night, charged with setting the fire that burned down the Cowan Mill in July.

Investigators from the State Fire Marshal’s Office and Lewiston police arrested the 13-year-old boy after interviewing several potential witnesses in recent days.

“We’ve been working on it heavily all week,” said Lewiston police Chief Michael Bussiere. “A lot of legwork went into the investigation.”

The boy was not identified Thursday night but it was believed police were led to the suspect after he talked about the fire with classmates. 

The State Fire Marshal’s Office said the boy is from Lewiston and that he was charged with arson.

The July 15 blaze leveled the historic mill near the Lewiston side of the Longeley Bridge and caused chaos throughout the city. Several main roads were closed in the downtown area and falling sparks ignited smaller fires in the area.

Almost immediately, police began looking for a group of teenage suspects said to have information about the fast moving fire.

At the time, a team of investigators from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives came to Lewiston to help with the probe. Fire officials said in July that the intensity of the fire made collecting evidence from within the burned remains of the mill difficult.

Police said they were led to several possible witnesses in the nearly three months since the fire. This week, evidence continued to surface and those potential witnesses were interviewed, according to Bussiere. The suspect was questioned at the Lewiston police station before he was arrested and taken to Long Creek Youth Development Center in South Portland.

Details about how the fire was started were not released.

Sgt. Joel Davis, of the Fire Marshal’s Office, said it’s possible others will be charged in connection with the fire.The investigation is ongoing, he said and findings will be forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office.

Read the Sun Journal’s coverage of the Cowan Mill fire at https://www.sunjournal.com/cowanmill

The Cowan Mill burning, taken around 4 p.m.


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