Officials say a fire in a group home in Gorham on Friday night was arson but not related to a string of fires that were set in the town earlier this year.

Fire Chief Robert Lefebvre said late Friday that someone had been taken into custody in connection with the fire. He declined to identify him, say whether any charges had been filed or say whether he was a resident at the group home at 7 Green St.

Lefebvre said damage to the group home was substantial, although firefighters managed to prevent a total loss. He said he didn’t know what living arrangements had been made for the residents of the home.

The fire was reported shortly after 8 p.m. Lefebvre declined to say whether it started inside or outside the home, but said both the first and second floors were substantially damaged.

Lefebvre said investigators from the state Fire Marshal’s Office and Gorham police remained at the home late Friday, gathering evidence in the case.

Gorham was hit by a string of six arsons this spring that have yet to be solved. Most of the fires were set at unoccupied homes on the outskirts of town.

Friday’s fire occurred just a few blocks from the center of town.

In addition to the set fires in the spring, investigators say a teenager was shot by a homeowner when the boy tried to set a deck on fire at 8 Mountainview Drive on July 13.

The case against the teenager has been forwarded to the District Attorney’s Office. Investigators are also looking into whether the homeowner was justified in using deadly force, but have not yet interviewed the boy, who remained hospitalized as of last week.

Staff Writer Edward D. Murphy can be contacted at 791-6465 or at:

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