WATERVILLE — The occupant of an apartment where fire broke out Saturday night on College Avenue was first detained for questioning by local police and later arrested by investigators from the Office of State Fire Marshal.

Capt. John Gromek of the Waterville Fire Department said the fire was intentionally set. He said the charge against the man likely will be arson, a Class A crime punishable by up to 30 years in prison.

The name of the person arrested was not available from the Waterville Fire Department on Sunday because the Fire Marshal’s Office is handling the case. Calls placed to the Fire Marshal’s Office in Augusta and to the phone of one of the investigators were not immediately returned Sunday.

Gromek said the call came in just after 11 p.m. from 17 College Ave. just a few doors down from Waterville’s central fire station at 7 College Ave.

No one was injured.

Gromek said firefighters had to force their way into apartment 2 after a report of smoke coming from around the door.

“It was very smoky and they obviously had some flames when they opened the door,” he said. “There was a lot of smoke damage in the apartment.”

He said the fire was quickly located and extinguished. No one was in the apartment when firefighters arrived at the 15-unit apartment house, owned by Waterville Oaks LLC. All of the other tenants of the building were able to return to their apartments.

Stefan Buzzell, 20, who lives across the hall from apartment 2 with his fiancée said he alerted the other occupants of the building and all managed to get out safely.

“This guy across the hall — his name is Michael — came knocking on my door and walked in and didn’t say hello or anything … and nonchalantly said ‘The house is on fire’ and he walks out of the building. There was black smoke billowing out of the door.

“I started yelling ‘Fire’. I opened up the door about an inch and when I opened the door of apartment 2 the door was hot and smoke poured out.”

Buzzell said he alerted tenants in the rest of the building and called the fire department as people evacuated the building.

Doug Harlow — 612-2367

[email protected]

Twitter:@Doug_Harlow

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