Neighbor calls arson at New England mill 'inevitable' after 3 teens arrested
SANFORD, Maine — A neighbor who witnessed the massive fire destroy Stenton Trust Mill said arson was inevitable due to the increased activity inside the abandoned building.
"I sit out here all the time and we watch kids go in and out... I almost expected it to happen. We were just waiting for when and hoped nobody got hurt," said Randall Bruce Shelley, 62 of Sanford, who lives across the street from the mill.
Officials charged one 12-year-old boy and two 13-year-old boys with starting the fire on the third floor and brought them to Long Creek juvenile detention facility in South Portland. Maine's Fire Marshal Joseph Thomas believed the three Sanford teens appeared in court Monday afternoon.
"Unfortunately, the juvenile fire setter problem within the State of Maine, as well as the country, is still substantial," Fire Chief Steve Benotti said.
Many neighbors, including Shelley, saw the fire spread quickly throughout the building Friday evening, claiming the flames "blew out" the roof. More than 100 firefighters from Maine and New Hampshire responded to the 300,000-square-foot building with water from the outside because of concerns that structure might collapse.
Concerns of a possible collapse still linger as fire officials work to put a fence around the building to deter others from going inside.
The Fire Marshal's Office announced Monday morning that two homeless men known to stay inside the mill had been unaccounted. Hours later, the office announced that they found the two men safe in Portland.
Officials believe nobody is inside the building and do not plan on doing an internal investigation of the mill.
No injuries occurred as a result of this arson case.