WATERVILLE — An 18-year-old Waterville man has been charged with arson after he allegedly set a fire Thursday that caused minor damage to his Elm Street apartment and smoke damage to others.

Timothy Staples lived in the apartment with his mother and stepfather but was alone in the apartment when the fire started, according to fire Chief David LaFountain.

Staples was arrested Thursday night by Kenneth MacMaster, a fire investigator with the state fire marshal’s office, who was called to the building.

The fire was started with paper and cardboard in a bathroom sink and extended to a bed sheet in the bathroom, according to a probable cause affidavit MacMaster filed Thursday. The bed sheet later was found in a trash bin outside the building, according to the affidavit.

“Staples told me he sets fires when stressed,” according to MacMaster’s affidavit. “Staples said on this day he was stressed and to alleviate his stress intentionally started the fire.”

The fire caused minor damage to the apartment, as well as smoke damage to other apartments, the affidavit said.

Staples was taken to Kennebec County jail in Augusta and released Friday on personal recognizance bail after a video arraignment in Augusta District Court.

LaFountain said the Fire Department responded to the multifamily apartment building after a fire alarm sounded at 6:55 p.m.

Officials found smoke, but no fire, in apartment No. 4 on the second floor where Staples lived, LaFountain said.

The old, two-story, wooden building with a basement is five or six buildings from the Fire Department and has multiple stairways that go up to the second floor, he said.

Amy Calder — 861-9247
[email protected]