ANDOVER — Chairman Mark Thurston told selectmen Tuesday evening that he is looking into setting up a neighborhood crime watch program because of two intentionally-set fires in April.

The fires destroyed two large, vacant homesteads on both ends of Main Street.

The first one, at 126 North St., destroyed a two-story Victorian house and barn Friday evening, April 6. It was owned by a financial institution.

The second fire levelled the historic Mills family house, ell and attached barn at 28 South Main St. late on April 7. It was owned by Patricia Mills Cox of Dixfield, the daughter of previous owner Roger Mills, 88, who grew up there.

Sgt. Ken Grimes of the state Fire Marshal’s Office said the blazes were deliberately ignited.

Thurston told Selectmen Brian Mills and Wendy Closson that he spoke with the Oxford County Sheriff’s Office about helping the town set up a crime watch program.


“If we really have some people that are interested, we could set up a meeting and the sheriff and his deputies will give us a hand getting started if people want to do it,” Thurston said.

Fire Chief Jim Adler said he had not received updated information about the arson cases from state investigators.

“There’s rumors flying all over the place that something has happened,” Mills said.

Adler told him that he would call the Fire Marshal’s Office to inquire if they “know anything, but we’re definitely not in the driver’s seat. We’re waiting to hear.”

In other business, selectmen scheduled a second town meeting for June 16 to vote on articles to cover the first six months on the new fiscal year, which starts July 1. The March town meeting covered operations from Jan. 1 to June 30.

The June meeting will be at 8 a.m. at the Town Hall.

Andover selectmen, from left, Chairman Mark Thurston, Brian Mills and Wendy Closson meet Tuesday at the Town Hall. (Marianne Hutchinson/Rumford Falls Times)

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