n-BRFcumbfire-011509 Garage fire not related to standoff

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CUMBERLAND — A New Year’s Eve fire that destroyed a garage at 74 Valley Road has so far been deemed unrelated to a standoff and arrest at the residence last spring.
Last March, resident Michael Coppersmith, then 47, was arrested after a four-hour standoff at the house that involved three police departments, the Maine State Police and the seizure of nearly a dozen handguns and rifles and a large amount of ammunition.
Coppersmith is the husband of Rhonda Coppersmith, who last February was fired from her job as bookkeeper at Vessel Services in Portland and charged in Cumberland County Superior Court with embezzling $400,000.
Fire Chief Daniel Small said this week that the early morning fire on Jan. 1 has been deemed an “undetermined fire” and that the investigation has been closed unless further information is discovered that suggests the fire was suspicious.
Because of the history of the home and its residents, Small said the
state fire marshal’s office was called in to assist the investigation,
“to make sure we covered all our bases.”
The fire totally destroyed the garage, he said, but firefighters were able to prevent the fire from entering the home itself, which was connected to the garage via a mud room. The home and all its contents were saved.