A firefighter walks toward the debris of an Arnie Drive home that was destroyed in a suspected act of arson Thursday morning in Richmond. Courtesy of the Fire Marshal’s Office

RICHMOND — A Richmond man was arrested Thursday for arson after officials say he started a fire in the garage of a family member’s home, destroying the property.

Robert Jolly, 40, was charged and taken to Two Bridges Jail in Wiscasset after investigators from the Office of Maine State Fire Marshal determined he started the early morning blaze.

Richmond police also charged Jolly, who lives elsewhere in Richmond, with burglary, assault, criminal trespass and theft of services.

The two people who lived in the house were able to get out without injury, along with their dogs. State officials say a cat did not survive.

One of the homeowners is a longtime employee of the town.

Firefighters from Richmond and surrounding communities were called shortly after 7 a.m. to a home on Arnie Drive for a report of a structure fire.


When they arrived, they found a fire in a garage that was spreading into the house across a breezeway, Richmond Fire Chief Steve Caswell said.

“The house is a total loss,” Caswell said. “The Red Cross has been notified.”

The fire sent up a plume of black smoke that was visible from surrounding towns and by passing traffic. The home is located just off Alexander Reed Road where it intersects with U.S. Route 201, which is also Brunswick Road; both are heavily traveled.

Because of the home’s rural location, tankers were deployed to ferry water from Alexander Reed Road to Arnie Drive.

Firefighters respond to a house fire on Arnie Drive in Richmond Thursday morning. Police arrested one person for arson in connection with the incident. Courtesy of Gardiner Fire Department

By 10:30 a.m., some departments started to be released from the scene when the fire was knocked down, but Richmond firefighters stayed behind with investigators from the Office of Maine State Fire Marshal.

Property records show the home is owned by John and Laurie Boucher.

Laurie Boucher is the town’s finance director. Richmond officials posted on Facebook that in response to calls and requests to assist the Bouchers, it will accept gift cards and money on behalf of the family at the town office at 26 Gardiner St. Kennebec Cutters, at 70 Main St., has also opened its doors as a location where people can drop money.

Caswell said firefighters from Richmond, Bowdoin, Bowdoinham, Gardiner, Woolwich, Dresden and Topsham responded. He said the department was also helped at the scene by the Richmond police and public works departments, the Sagadahoc County Sheriff’s Office, town staff and the Maine Department of Transportation.

“It was a good outcome considering the situation; no one got hurt,” he said.

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