WEST GARDINER — A local man campaigning to join the board of selectman has been charged with hampering firefighters trying to douse a High Street blaze.

Victor “Chip” Goodwin Jr., 48, was charged by state fire investigators with obstructing government operations during the fire response Tuesday night. Officials said Goodwin was helping the owner demolish the abandoned house at 880 High St.

“He was interfering with the fire department operations at the fire scene after being warned not to do so,” said Sgt. Joel Davis of the State Fire Marshal’s Office. Additional details were not available.

Goodwin, who works at the town’s transfer station, is running against incumbent Greg Couture in the March 24 election for a seat on the board of selectmen. Goodwin’s father, Victor Goodwin Sr., also serves on the board.

Investigators from Davis’ office and the Maine Forest Service are looking into what caused the fire that destroyed the large two-story home.

Davis said information gathered during the investigation will be turned over to the district attorney’s office. Additional charges could be filed against Goodwin and others, Davis said.

The fire was reported shortly before 7:30 p.m. Flames had filled the house by the time firefighters arrived, said West Gardiner Fire Chief Christopher McLaughlin.

“It was fully involved when we showed up,” he said. “The entire structure — all four sides.”

It took firefighters from Farmingdale, Gardiner, Litchfield, Pittston and West Gardiner about three hours to put the fire out, McLaughlin said.

Fire Marshal investigators removed Goodwin from the property and issued him a summons charging obstruction around 9:30 p.m. as firefighters continued to work to put out the fire, Davis said. He declined to specify what Goodwin did to hinder that effort.

“He was interfering with the fire chief and other members of the fire department while they were trying to extinguish the fire,” Davis said. “He was told to stay away and he continued to obstruct.”

The house is owned by building contractor Gary Keith, McLaughlin said. He was unsure if the building was insured. Keith & Sons LLC is listed as the building owner in records at the Kennebec County Registry of Deeds.

Davis said Goodwin was helping Keith demolish the house. There was a permitted burn on the property Tuesday, but it is unclear what role, if any, that played in the house blaze, Davis said.

Investigators did not know why Goodwin was at the house Tuesday night.

“We’re still trying to figure that out through our investigation into how the fire started,” Davis said.

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