WINDHAM — Windham police and the state Fire Marshal’s Office arrested the owner of Corsetti’s Market on Thursday on charges that he set fire to his apartment building next to the market and tried to make it look like a mob hit.

Donato Corsetti, 67, was arrested shortly before 5:30 p.m., after a Cumberland County grand jury handed up indictments Thursday on two charges of arson stemming from an incident Dec. 7.

Corsetti was to be held in the Cumberland County Jail on $50,000 cash bail and made to surrender his passport, said Sgt. Joel Davis of the Fire Marshal’s Office.

According to an affidavit filed Dec. 17 in Cumberland County Unified Criminal Court, Corsetti’s apartment building and his own home had recently been foreclosed on at the time of the fire, and he still owed more than $174,000.

Firefighters were called to 447 Gray Road for a report of smoke coming from the middle apartment in the two-story, three-unit building.

A worker at the nearby market saw Corsetti in a window of the apartment, then saw him smash the window with a floor lamp and stick his head out, according to the affidavit. She also saw smoke.

The woman ran to the building, pushed open the door and got Corsetti to safety.

According to the affidavit, Corsetti, with a lamp cord cinched around his neck with a slip knot, told the woman to loosen it and said he was losing consciousness.

Some of the cord, still attached to the lamp, was wrapped around his wrists — which were behind his back, the affidavit said.

Corsetti was treated at Maine Medical Center in Portland for scrapes on his forehead and wrists and a possible concussion. When investigators questioned him at the hospital, he told them he was showing the apartment to someone who attacked him, the affidavit said.

Then he changed his story, saying organized crime figures from Rhode Island were trying to scare him. He asked police not to investigate.

At the time of the foreclosure, Corsetti’s properties were worth $250,000 and he owed more than $425,000. The insurance policy on the properties was for $509,800, the affidavit says.

Corsetti had had two previous fires, one that destroyed the store in 1998 and one that damaged his home in 2007.

Investigators planned to re-examine the reports from those fires, which were deemed accidental, but the fires happened so long ago that it’s unlikely that any new investigation will be started.

David Hench can be contacted at 791-6327 or at
[email protected]