Hudson, Maine Firefighter Sentenced for Arson

BANGOR, ME -- A former volunteer firefighter in Hudson was sentenced Tuesday in Penobscot County Superior Court to serve nine months in jail for setting two fires so he could help put them out. Charles E. St. Lawrence, 19, was sentenced to six years in prison with all but nine months suspended and six years of probation.

He also was ordered to pay restitution totaling $85,850 - $63,850 for the property destroyed and $22,000 to reimburse the department for expenses related to fighting the fires.

St. Lawrence will not have to begin serving his sentence until April 22, about 10 days after his first child due.

He pleaded guilty in December to two counts of arson for fires in April 2004 and October 2003. He faced a maximum of 20 years in prison per count rather than the statutory maximum of 40 years because both buildings were vacant when they were set, Maine Superior Court Justice S. Kirk Studstrup said Tuesday.

The fire on Oct. 3, 2003, gutted a Hudson Road home and destroyed a nearby barn and shed. Fire department personnel from Glenburn, Bradford, Kenduskeag and Corinth assisted Hudson firefighters. Crews were on the scene for 13 hours.

The fire last year destroyed a shed.

St. Lawrence joined the Hudson Volunteer Fire Department when he was 14 and admitted to setting a couple of grass fires while a juvenile, according to Michael Roberts, Penobscot County deputy district attorney. The defendant was not charged with setting those fires.