PORTLAND — Carol Field, the grandmother from Standish who is accused of being a serial arsonist, pleaded not guilty Wednesday to five charges stemming from fires in Cumberland County, including one that caused extensive damage to a church in Raymond last summer.
Authorities say that Field, 66, has confirmed details about a total of 15 fires she set in Cumberland and York counties. Gasoline was used in all of them, they say, and most were set in wooded areas or at unoccupied buildings. One, in Limerick, caused ammunition stored in a barn to explode.
Field is scheduled to be arraigned on five arson charges Friday in York County Superior Court.
Her lawyer says she maintains her innocence.
On Wednesday, Field was arraigned on arson charges from the fire that caused more than $200,000 worth of damage to the Raymond Hill Baptist Church, and smaller fires in Standish and Gorham.
Field did not speak during her brief appearance before District Court Judge Jeffrey Moskowitz. She tried to avoid being photographed by hunching over in her seat among other defendants. She declined to be interviewed.
Field is a former nurse who worked most recently at a sandwich shop. Her criminal record includes convictions for shoplifting groceries, furnishing liquor to a minor and — more than 30 years ago — impersonating a police officer.
J.P. DeGrinney, Field’s lawyer, has said that she suffers from mental health problems. He would not discuss them Wednesday.
“There were absolutely no injuries to any members of the public,” he said after the court proceeding. “From the limited material I’ve been privy to, there’s been no indication there were any people anywhere near any of these structures. I think it’s also fair to say most of these were not structures. They were fires in fields and fires on piles of twigs and brush.”
Arson carries a maximum penalty of 30 years in prison, but sentences have historically been less when no one has been hurt.
Assistant District Attorney Angela Cannon declined to comment on the case.
Field has been in custody since her arrest in September. Her bail is $100,000.
The church fire on July 26 in Raymond severely damaged the back corner of the building and destroyed an organ. The church, which hosts four services annually, was due to have its last one of the year several days after the fire.
The fires in Standish occurred on Aug. 21 at a building for equipment storage and apple sales at Randall Orchards, on Aug. 24 at a barn at 660 Cape Road, and on Sept. 27 in the woods off Moody Road.
The buildings were not severely damaged; a passer-by put out the fire off Moody Road, said Standish Chief of Fire and EMS Brent Libby.
The building fires were suspicious because there was no apparent source, Libby said.
“We hadn’t had any storms for lightning strikes, no power, not that sort of thing,” he said.
The fire off Moody Road involved a teepee made of kindling and paper towels, according to a court document.
In Gorham, a fire on Aug. 21 caused minimal damage to a barn at 51 Dow Road before it burned itself out, said Gorham Chief of Fire and Rescue Robert Lefebvre. The fire on an outside wall had clearly been set, he said.
Staff Writer Ann S. Kim can be contacted at 791-6383 or at: