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Convicted arsonist charged with setting Portland blaze

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Convicted arsonist charged with setting Portland blaze

PORTLAND
— A man on probation for setting fire to several buildings in 2004 is allegedly responsible for an Aug. 20 blaze that destroyed one Forest Avenue building and damaged another.

Phillip Caron, 25, was reportedly found inside a building at 745 Forest Ave. at about 11:15 p.m. by police, who responded to the report of a suspicious man entering the building.

According to police, while officers spoke with Caron in the parking lot, they realized the back of the building was on fire. Caron reportedly fled, although officers chased and caught him.

When the Fire Department arrived at about 11:30 p.m., the building – which was still under construction – was fully engulfed in flames. The fire was hot enough to melt the siding off an apartment building across the street, and electrical service in the area was interrupted for a short time because of damaged power lines.

Caron was arrested on charges of arson, burglary and probation violation. A Westbrook resident and former call fireman there, Caron was convicted in 2005 of setting fire to four buildings in southern Maine. He was sentenced to four years in prison and ordered to undergo counseling, according to reports at the time. 

Portland police and the state fire marshal's office are investigating how the fire was started.

Kate Bucklin can be reached at 781-3661 ext. 106 or kbucklin@theforecaster.net