A Springvale man pleaded guilty Friday to his role in an arson that destroyed a Sanford home last July.

Johnathan Cox Photo courtesy of Maine Department of Public Safety

Johnathon Cox, 25, pleaded guilty to Class A arson, a felony, during a hearing Friday in York County Superior Court in Alfred. He was sentenced to eight years in prison with all but five years suspended, followed by four years of probation, according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

Sanford firefighters responded around 4:30 a.m. July 6 to a blaze that spread from the porch of a single-family home at 26 Montreal St. The fire spread to a two-unit apartment building next door. The fire forced occupants of the buildings to escape through windows, according to the fire marshal’s office.

The fire was extinguished within an hour, but the home at 26 Montreal St. was a loss. The house next door sustained extensive damage. No injuries were reported.

After the fire, investigators released a grainy, black-and-white surveillance video from a nearby home that appeared to show two shirtless men approaching the home around 4:17 a.m. A second video, from 4:22 a.m., showed two people running away as the fire’s glow reflected on buildings across the street.

Cox was identified by witnesses after the surveillance video was released.

A second man, 23-year-old Lonnie McMahon, also was charged with arson. It was not immediately clear on Friday if his case has been resolved..

The six-month investigation into the fire was conducted by the fire marshal’s office, Sanford police and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.


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