AUGUSTA – The Augusta man charged with burning down a topless coffee shop in Vassalboro last year pleaded not guilty Tuesday to two counts of arson.

Raymond J. Bellavance Jr., 49, was arraigned in Kennebec County Superior Court. The bail for Bellavance, who was arrested in early May in South Carolina on the arson charges, remained at $1 million.

Fire investigators allege Bellavance acted alone in the early morning blaze on June 3, 2009 at the Grand View Topless Coffee Shop.

Owner Donald Crabtree and his family — including his daughters, their boyfriends and two young children — were asleep in apartments in the building but escaped without injury after a passing ambulance crew noticed the blaze about 1 a.m. and woke them.

The topless coffee shop drew worldwide media attention after it opened on Route 3 on Feb. 23, 2009.

Crabtree has been rebuilding at the site and is operating the shop out of an office trailer on the property.

Assistant District Attorney Steve Parker said that Bellavance had an extensive criminal records dating to 1979 and had to be extradited from South Carolina on the current charges.

According to an affidavit by Kenneth MacMaster of the State Fire Marshal’s Office, Bellavance used gasoline to start the June 2009 fire because he was angry that his girlfriend, Krista MacIntyre, was working for and allegedly in a sexual relationship with Crabtree.

MacMaster detailed in the affidavit an 11-month investigation that included statements from nearly two dozen witnesses, almost all of whom say they heard Bellavance talk about burning down the coffee shop.