RANDOLPH — An intentionally set fire ripped through an apartment building early Saturday evening, causing its three tenants to flee and another man to escape the blaze by jumping from a second-story window.
The man, Andrew St. Amand, 33, who suffered cuts in the jump, and was taken to Central Maine Medical Center in Lewiston.
While at the hospital, St. Amand was charged with domestic violence assault for an incident with his girlfriend, a tenant, prior to the fire, according to Sgt. Joel Davis of the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office.
Because the investigation is ongoing, Davis declined to say how the fire started, but stated there may be more charges brought against St. Amand.
The apartment building at 23 Windsor St. is owned by Dan Demeritt of Sidney; Demeritt is director of communications and legislative affairs for Gov. Paul LePage.
“I’m happy everyone got out OK,” Demeritt said. “That’s the most important thing.”
Demeritt, who owns six rental properties in Randolph and Augusta, said he has other vacancies where his tenants may be able to live, and he’ll work to give them back their deposits.
There were two fires at the building, one on Saturday and one on Sunday.
The first blaze was reported around 7:40 p.m. and was later determined to be arson, according to the fire marshal’s office. It partly damaged the structure and caused two female and one male tenants to lose their belongings. St. Amand lived with one of the female tenants.
Of the four units in the building, Davis said, three were occupied. Three tenants were inside when the first fire broke out, but no one besides St. Amand was injured.
A second fire, reported around 4 a.m. on Sunday, destroyed more of the building, Randolph Fire Department Deputy Chief Bill Ebert said.
Davis said the origin of the second fire is not suspicious; it’s likely that remaining embers re-ignited the building’s fibrous, blow-in insulation.
Though the structure remains standing, the interior was heavily damaged by fire, water and smoke.
The blaze was largely under way when firefighters arrived. “When we got there it was coming out of the front, left side of the building on two stories,” Ebert said.
About 40 firefighters from five towns fought the flames, and onlookers from the neighborhodd gathered to watch.
Though houses there are no more than 30 feet apart, Ebert said firefighters were able to contain the fire within the building so it didn’t spread to others.
After crews cleared the scene early Sunday, about 20 firefighters were called back a couple hours later for the fire that restarted inside the building.
“It looks like now it’s probably going to be totaled,” Ebert said.
The building was insured; Demeritt estimated its worth at slightly less than $100,000.
Fire departments from Randolph, Farmingdale, Pittston, Gardiner and Chelsea responded to both calls. The Gardiner Police Department, Maine State Police and the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office also responded.
“All the towns did an excellent job, and they all played it safe,” Ebert said.
Erin Rhoda — 474-9534