SANFORD — Authorities are looking for a female “person of interest” in connection with a fire outside a Pioneer Avenue mill building that took place early Saturday.

“We dodged a huge bullet,” said Fire Chief Steve Benotti of the fire, which is believed to have been deliberately set up against the wooden portion of the former Wasco mill, now owned by Fred Smith.

The fire was discovered by Smith, a city councilor, at about 6:30 a.m. Saturday. Benotti said Smith was able to pull the debris away from the building before firefighters arrived.

The fire itself was small, but Benotti said it could have been much worse had it not been discovered.

The State Fire Marshal’s Office investigated, as did Sanford Fire Marshal Patrick Cutter.

Smith referred to the fire and a female person of interest during the councilor comment section of Tuesday’s council meeting. Smith said there was little damage to the mill building. He said if the woman is arrested and prosecuted, he hopes she gets the help he believes she needs.

On Tuesday morning, Sanford firefighters responded to a seven-unit apartment building at 7 Mill Street in Springvale, where a fire that started on a rooftop deck burned into the roofing material. Benotti said the fire is believed to have started by improper disposal of smoking materials.

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