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Brimfield fires termed arson

Police and fire officials are now saying the June 22 fire that destroyed this Washington Road house may have been set by the same individual or individuals responsible for a Paige Hill Road fire one week earlier. Christopher Tanguay. (click for larger version)
June 29, 2010
BRIMFIELD — With two devastating fires occurring two weeks, state officials are looking for citizen assistance in catching a potential arsonist.

Early in the morning of Tuesday, June 15, firefighters from Brimfield and surrounding towns responded to a structure fire on Paige Hill Road near the Brimfield-Holland town line that leveled an old farmhouse.

Exactly one week later, on Tuesday, June 22, firefighters were called to a similar fire at a remote location on Washington Road near the boarder of Palmer. That fire also destroyed a house.

No injuries were sustained at either fire, as neither house had been inhabited for some time.

After investigating the sites of each fire, officials from state Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan's office have determined that neither fire was an accident.

"We've determined that both of those fires were intentionally set," said Coan's spokesman Jennifer Meith. "In other words, we're saying arson."

On Paige Hill Road, all that remains of the house engulfed by the first fire is a pile of scorched rubble and exposed posts and beams covered over with a grader, and a portion of a cellar hole in between burned trees and brush.

On Washington Road, a 5-foot high pile of wood and debris from the house stands in the shadow of a backhoe — presumably the machine used to gather the remains of the house into a central location.

See Wednesday's Southbridge Evening News for complete coverage of community news.

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