A Waterville woman has been arrested on charges that she started at least six fires inside the construction site of Colby College’s Paul J. Schupf Art Center in downtown Waterville on Monday night, authorities said.

Alisa Carey, 21, of Waterville, was arrested in connection with the fires. She was located in the area and had burns on her hands, police said.

Waterville police responded to the area of Main and Front streets at approximately 7:45 p.m. Monday after receiving a complaint of someone yelling and screaming, according to a news release from Shannon Moss, spokeswoman for the Maine Department of Public Safety.

Police found several fires in the construction site when they arrived. The Waterville Fire Department responded to extinguish the fires and contacted the Maine Office of State Fire Marshal as well.

The fires caused damage to construction material, dumpsters and the actual building under construction, according to Moss.

The structure of the arts center experienced “minimal damage” and no construction delays are expected as a result of the fires, according to a statement Tuesday from Colby College.


“While there are some materials that may need to be replaced and burn marks on temporary coverings and plywood, no major components were impacted,” the college’s statement reads.

Carey is currently on probation because of a prior arson charge. She has been arrested twice in the past by fire marshals for apartment fires in Waterville, according to Moss.

The Paul J. Schupf Art Center during construction Tuesday in downtown Waterville. Authorities said a woman set fires at the construction site Monday night. Rich Abrahamson/Morning Sentinel

Authorities on Tuesday did not immediately have more information about Carey’s prior arson charge, nor on why Carey allegedly set the fires.

Colby College and Waterville Creates raised $18 million for the construction of the Paul J. Schupf Art Center. It will feature an all-glass front-facing Castonguay Square and include the Joan Dignam Schmaltz Gallery of Art, Ticonic Gallery and Studios, and the Ed Harris Box Office, which will serve all programs in the building, as well as the Waterville Opera House. The Opera House will be accessible to the art center via a skywalk. Three cinemas on the second floor will replace those currently at Railroad Square and will be the focal point for the Maine Film Center and the Maine International Film Festival.

The center is named for Paul J. Schupf, an art collector and longtime benefactor of Colby College, who donated to help make the project possible. Construction is expected to be completed in the fall of 2022.

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