RUMFORD — A fire at Sunnyside Cemetery on Tuesday night is “suspicious,” Fire Chief Bob Chase said Wednesday.

It took firefighters from Rumford and Mexico about three hours to extinguish the blaze, he said.

Chase said a resident reported the fire to officials. The cemetery is off Sunnyside Terrace.

“We responded to the scene, got some individuals into the woods and discovered that there was a 100- by 100-foot area of ground cover on fire,” Chase said. “There was a lot of pine needles and dead leaves burning.”

The fire was contained within half an hour.

“After we contained the fire, we called Mexico for assistance,” Chase said. “They have a utility vehicle with a pump. We sent it up the access trail, and they were able to put the hot spots out.”


He said the fire is suspicious because there was no natural reason for it to happen.

“There were no structures in the immediate area of the fire, and there were no lightning storms reported that night,” Chase said.

“Right now, we’re calling the fire suspicious, though we’re still investigating the fire today. We went back up to the scene with the Maine Forest Service, and we’re continuing to look into it.”

Rumford and Mexico officials have dealt with suspicious fires over the past year.

A 13-year-old female from Rumford was recently arrested and charged with one count of arson in the Hosmer Field bathroom fire that occurred July 24.

Another 13-year-old female was charged in August with starting a fire at the town gazebo behind the Mexico Fire Station in late July.

Three female juveniles from Dixfield, Carthage and Jay were charged with starting a fire that destroyed a camp on Coburn Avenue in Mexico in December 2014.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office is investigating a suspicious fire that destroyed the snack shack at the Mexico Recreation Park on July 21, 2014.

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