VASSALBORO — Police on Tuesday charged seventh-grader at Vassalboro Community School with setting a fire there Monday that damaged the inside of a girls’ bathroom.

The 13-year-old girl was issued a summons charging her with arson, according to Steve McCausland, spokesman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

The girl, whose name was not released by police because of her age, was released into the custody of her parents. She is expected to appear in juvenile court in February, McCausland said. School Superintendent Eric Haley did not return phone calls Tuesday seeking comment on the charge and the extent of the damage to the bathroom.

No one was hurt in the fire, which was reported in an upstairs girls’ bathroom shortly before 1 p.m.

The fire forced the evacuation of about 500 students from the Webber Pond Road school, which serves students in kindergarten through eighth grade.

After evacuating, the students boarded buses to keep warm and were able to return to the building after about a half-hour, Haley said Monday. Smoke and water damage was confined to the bathroom, Haley said.

Investigators quickly determined the fire, which started on a plastic toilet paper dispenser, was intentionally set. Sgt. Kenneth Grimes of the State Fire Marshal’s Office said investigators collected evidence Monday.

Four fire investigators returned to the school Tuesday morning with deputies from the Kennebec County Sheriff’s Department and they interviewed students and staff.

Firefighters responded from Vassalboro, Winslow, China and Chelsea, and the fire was still burning in the bathroom when they got there. The fire was quickly extinguished.

Grimes said early on in the investigation that his department responds to a couple of suspicious school fires each year. In most cases the fire-setter is identified, he said.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]


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