September 19, 2019

Couple pleads innocent in arson

BANGOR – A volunteer firefighter in Medway and her husband Thursday pleaded innocent to arson charges in Penobscot County Superior Court. The couple is charged with setting a Nov. 16 fire that destroyed an abandoned convenience store in Medway.

Heidi Carey, 23, of Millinocket and James Carey, 36, were each charged with one count of arson, a felony that carries with it a maximum of 40 years in prison.

Both appeared with their court-appointed attorneys. Heidi Carey is represented by Jeffrey Silverstein of Bangor and James Carey’s attorney is Lawrence Lunn of Bangor. Both were released on unsecured bond of $2,000 without conditions. No trial date has been set.

Heidi Carey became a volunteer firefighter in April 2000, according to Medway Fire Chief Peter Noddin.

The couple was charged by the State Fire Marshal’s Office less than 24 hours after the late-night blaze destroyed the two-story concrete and wooden building at the corner of Routes 11 and 157. The structure, which also included apartments, had been empty for several years, according to Noddin.

Deputy District Attorney Michael Roberts said that the motive for the crime is believed to be money because volunteer firefighters are paid an hourly rate per call. He added that the couple allegedly needed money.

Noddin said in November that the rear of the building was in flames when firefighters arrived at the scene at about 9:30 p.m. Crews from East Millinocket and Mattawamkeag also were called to the blaze.

“There was just more fire than we had water for,” Noddin said the day after the fire. He added that two departments repeatedly emptied their tanker trucks in an attempt to contain the blaze. “We just had to fall back, let it burn and protect any nearby buildings.”

The State Fire Marshal’s Office was called in to investigate the night of the fire because “it was obvious from the get-go” the fire had been set, said Noddin. There was no electricity or other power source connected to the abandoned structure.

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