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Wildfire rages with flames 30 feet high. When smoke clears, a most unlikely suspect is behind bars

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Fire Chief Ricky Plummer
Fire Chief Ricky Plummer’s mugshot credit Cumberland County Maine.

An intentionally set wildfire burned 42 acres and threatened a condominium complex in Maine last month.

Now a surprising suspect is behind bars and charged with arson.

Old Orchard Beach Fire Chief Ricky Plummer was arrested early Saturday and charged with arson for the April 15 blaze, the Washington Post reported.

The arrest occurred a day after investigators from the Maine Forest Service and the Maine State Fire Marshal’s Office raided his fire station and vehicle and seized computers, according to the Post.

Plummer, who has served as fire chief since 2014, described the fire and its danger to the Portland Press Herald after it was put out.

“Flames were 20 to 30 feet high, just a wall of fire and heat,” he said. “It could have been a lot worse. It could have burned this condominium down.”

Many Old Orchard Town Council members were surprised when Town Manager Larry Mead informed them of the arrest on Saturday.

“We are still trying to wrap our heads around it now,” Town Council vice chairman Joe Thornton told the Herald.

According to a report from the National Volunteer Firefighter Council this type of activity is not as rare as one might imagine.

On average about 100 firefighters are arrested annually on arson charges it reported.

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Carmine Sabia


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