SKOWHEGAN — A Bingham man pleaded not guilty Wednesday to a single count of arson for a fire in March that destroyed the Bingham town garage and all of the equipment inside.

The man, Brandon L. Sherwood, 29, was indicted earlier this month on a class A felony. He was arraigned in Skowhegan District Court on Tuesday.

Bingham First Selectman Steve Steward, who was in court Wednesday, said the town was covered by insurance, but not enough to rebuild the garage to its original size.

“We’re slowing gaining ground, but we’ve built nothing yet,” he said. “We were insured for everything, of course not to where it should have been.”

Sherwood’s court-appointed attorney, John Alsop, of Skowhegan, would not comment Wednesday. He said in May that the case appeared to lack a motive and that some reports suggest there may have been others involved in the fire.

An ice cream shop also burned in downtown the night of March 23, but Sherwood does not face any charges related to that.

State fire investigators said impressions taken from boots worn by Sherwood match footprints leading away from the  town garage and the vacant ice cream shop that night, according to a court affidavit.

Sherwood told a fire investigator that he was not at the town garage or the ice cream shop that night. He denied any involvement in the fires.

The fire at the public works garage caused about $500,000 in damage to the garage and equipment stored there. A fire accelerant detection dog indicated the presence of an ignitable liquid at both fire sites, according to the court affidavit.

The charred remains of Sherwood’s dog, a pit bull named Phantom, were found inside the burned garage.

Sherwood is being held on $100,000 bail at the Somerset County Jail in East Madison pending hearing in July.

Work to replace the equipment destroyed in the fire is underway.

Steward said the equipment inside the building was owned by a third-party contractor and was insured, as well.

He said the contractor, Arthur Kennedy, is in the process of replacing the insured plow trucks and other equipment and is expected to be ready for winter.

Steward said a sewer pump truck, which was destroyed, has been ordered and should be in place next month.

Also lost was a sewer auger and a small tractor, which have to be replaced.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367
[email protected]

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