VASSALBORO — The illegal cutting of the top half of a large spruce tree in front of the town’s fire station has prompted a police investigation.

Walker Thompson, Vassalboro’s fire chief, said Tuesday that the upper half of the tree at 1395 Riverside Drive had been cut off over the weekend, and that firefighters found the now-half sized tree on Sunday afternoon.

“Somebody had backed up to the tree, taken a saw, and cut the top of the tree off,” Thompson said. “We noticed the tree top was cut off sometime over the weekend, and we immediately reported it.”

The Kennebec County Sheriff’s Office later shared photos of the now-half sized tree in a Facebook post, asking the public for more information. Kennebec Sheriff’s officials did not immediately respond to a request for comment Tuesday on the criminal investigation.

Thompson said that he was “not aware of any leads at this time” related to the police probe.

While the fire station is equipped with several cameras, Thompson said none of them were pointed in the tree’s direction.


“We do have cameras on that building, but unfortunately, the cameras were not triggered because that specific area is not under video surveillance per se, and the cameras are triggered with motion,” he said. “I will add that we are in the process of upgrading our cameras so we will have 24/7, 365-day coverage no matter what happens.”

The tree was donated and planted about a decade ago by longtime volunteer Vassalboro firefighter Tom Richards and his wife. Google Street View photos indicate that the tree has nearly doubled in size over time.

“A lot of people have said, ‘Well, it’s just a tree,’ but at the end of the day, it’s private property and that tree meant something to the Vassalboro Fire Department,” Thompson said. “The firefighter who purchased and donated that tree with his wife years ago has served the town of Vassalboro for the past 43 years.”

Authorities said anyone with information should call the Augusta Regional Communications Center at 207-624-7076 and ask for Deputy Curtis.

Only subscribers are eligible to post comments. Please subscribe or login first for digital access. Here’s why.

Use the form below to reset your password. When you've submitted your account email, we will send an email with a reset code.

filed under: