A former Monmouth man has been charged with setting an April fire that destroyed his mobile home on Blue Rock Road.

Charles Sumner Reed, 62, was arrested Tuesday on a warrant charging him with arson. Reed, who was arrested on West Street in Gardiner, was being held without bail at the Kennebec County jail.

Reed is accused of setting an early morning fire on April 30 that destroyed his home inside the West Village Trailer Park.

An affidavit filed in Kennebec County Superior County by investigator Kenneth MacMaster, of the state fire marshal’s office, claims Reed admitted setting the fire while suffering a mental health crisis. Reed reportedly said he set the fire around 12:30 a.m. in a charcoal grill on the porch using medical records that he had saturated in kerosene. Reed, who called the fire a celebration, also burned a plastic novelty gift in the fire.

“Reed said he put about six packages of Black Cat firecrackers inside the charcoal grill, with the intention to blow the things up to bits,” MacMaster wrote. “Reed said he stood back to wait to see what would happen, elaborating he is an artist. Reed said he figured everything would be contained inside the grill.”

Reed went back inside the house after the fireworks detonated, and watched television and listened to music until dozing off, MacMaster wrote.

“Reed stated that he did not think that he was doing wrong,” MacMaster wrote.

Reed woke up to find the porch engulfed in fire. He gathered a few possessions, including a clarinet, a blanket, cushion, pants and jacket, and went out the back door.

Reed, who owns the home and did not have insurance, was not concerned about the trailer, MacMaster wrote.

“Reed said he didn’t really care about his home,” MacMaster wrote. “He was worried about the woods.”

A neighbor who reported the fire saw Reed outside carrying an instrument and a blanket. Reed calmly asked the neighbor to call 911 because his house was on fire.

The neighbor said Reed appeared “out of it,” MacMaster wrote. Monmouth police Officer Mike Parshall, who responded to the fire, said Reed “was in a mental health crisis,” MacMaster wrote.

“Reed said he was in a state of confusion or shock,” MacMaster wrote. “Reed said he was mad at himself for being so careless, even though the fire was a total accident.”

Reed’s ex-wife said he has been diagnosed with schizophrenia, for which he was supposed to take medication. Reed, who said his only diagnosis was “bipolar depression,” said he had not been taking his medication, MacMaster wrote.

Sgt. Ken Grimes, of the state fire marshal’s office, said shortly after the fire that Reed had not been hurt in the fire but was seeking medical attention for a condition unrelated to the fire.

The fire was reported around 1 a.m. and had engulfed the mobile home by the time firefighters arrived. About three dozen firefighters from Monmouth, Leeds, Wales and Winthrop focused on preventing the fire from spreading to nearby homes.

Craig Crosby — 621-5642

[email protected]

Twitter: @CraigCrosby4

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