VASSALBORO — A local boy is accused of setting a camper ablaze during the wee hours Friday morning and then reporting the fire at a neighbor’s home.

The 17-year-old, whose name was withheld because of his age, was charged with arson after setting the fire at Hemphills Farm on Oak Grove Road, according to Sgt. Kenneth Grimes.

“As I understand it, he had a conflict with the owners of the farm,” Grimes said, though he didn’t know details.

Firefighters believed almost immediately that the fire was set intentionally. Vassalboro Fire Chief Eric Rowe said the teenager was quickly identified as a suspect.

“At 2:30 in the morning you have a 17-year-old walking up and down the street, it tells you something,” Rowe said. “The kid had a cellphone, but he went to a neighbor’s (to report the fire). Nothing made sense.”

The teen has since been released, Grimes said. The boy is expected to appear in court later this spring, but Grimes did not have an exact date.

The fire was reported around 2:30 a.m. Friday. Rowe said the 1988 Ford motor home, which Rowe estimated to be 20 feet in length, was in ruins by the time firefighters arrived within a few minutes of the call. The first person to arrive lived just a couple houses away, Rowe said.

“There were no walls standing,” Rowe said. “It had pretty well burned itself down.”

Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze quickly and stayed on scene for another hour or so, Rowe said.

Nobody was injured by the fire, but heat melted a light on a horse trailer and pickup truck parked nearby and blistered the paint on the pickup truck, Rowe said.

The motorhome had been parked on the property since December and was not connected to utilities, Rowe said.

The teen was one of several charged by arson investigators over the weekend, according to Department of Public Safety Spokesman Steve McCausland.

Two 15-year-old Rumford boys were charged with arson after reportedly setting a fire at a Hammond Lumber yard Sunday. Firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze before it caused extensive damage, McCausland said.

Two Livermore Falls boys, ages 14 and 15, were charged with criminal use of explosives after making six bombs using acid and soda bottles. The boys added BBs to some of the bombs, McCausland said, and no one was injured.

Investigators also continue to look into fires intentionally set in Detroit, Boothbay Harbor and Milo.

In Detroit, a camper trailer used to store antiques off Troy Road was torched late Friday. The camper and contents were destroyed, McCausland said.

A house under construction in Boothbay Harbor and a farmhouse in Milo were both badly damaged by fire.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

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