Bath man indicted for Brunswick arson spree

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BRUNSWICK — A Bath man accused of lighting a series of fires in town last summer was indicted by a Cumberland County grand jury on five counts of arson this month.

David J. Burch, 41, whose last known address was 688 Middle St., Bath, faces five Class A counts of arson and five Class D counts of failure to control or report a dangerous fire after allegedly setting fires behind five businesses on Aug. 27.

An indictment is a finding that enough evidence exists to prosecute, not a finding of guilt.

Burch is being held at the Cumberland County Jail in Portland on $10,000 bail, according to court records. He is next due to appear in the Cumberland County Unified Criminal Docket on Dec. 6.

Court records indicate Burch’s trial could begin in mid-January 2019. Each of the arson counts carries a maximum 30-year prison sentence.

Brunswick police logs from Aug. 27 record five calls for outside fires over a nearly three-hour time frame beginning at 2:55 p.m. and ending with Burch’s arrest at 5:44 p.m.

Burch is accused of setting fires behind Walmart, Shaw’s, PetSmart and Autometrics. No injuries were reported because of the fires.

A report filed by Brunswick Police Officer Joshua Bernier said the fire set behind the PetSmart at Merrymeeting Plaza burned stacked shipping pallets with flames at least 15 feet high. Bernier said the fire also damaged bumper pads used to prevent trucks from hitting the receiving dock behind the store.

Bernier said as he responded to the fire call, he was alerted to the fire at Autometrics, in the same shopping center. Bernier said he also learned firefighters had seen someone walking down the railroad tracks.

While investigating, Bernier said he saw Burch light a brush fire along the tracks, which was also logged by the Brunswick Fire Department as part of the arson spree.

Bernier was able to arrest Burch a short distance from the last fire scene, and a K-9 unit from the Freeport Police Department was able to track Burch’s steps back to the area behind Merrymeeting Plaza.

David Harry can be reached at 780-9092 or Follow him on Twitter: @DavidHarry8.


Portland City Hall reporter for The Forecaster. Baltimore native, lived in Maine since 1989. A journalist since 2005, covering much of Cumberland and York counties. I joined The Forecaster in 2012.