Brunswick police have charged a man with criminal mischief for allegedly starting a fire last month in the crawl-space type structure housing the heating, ventilation and air condition system for Senter Place.

Brunswick firefighters responded to Senter Place at 124 Maine St. shortly before 8 a.m. on Jan. 22 for a report of smoke in the building. After investigating the cause of the light smoke, which gradually grew thicker, firefighters pulled the fire alarm to evacuate the building and traced the smoke to the building’s HVAC unit. They were able to easily and quickly extinguish the small fire in the second-floor unit.

Brunswick Police Cmdr. Mark Waltz said Tristan Fish, 18, a transient formerly from Topsham, was apprehended by patrolman Charles Tompson the following Monday night, on Jan. 25, when Fish returned to the premises. On Saturday he was issued a summons charging him with Class D criminal mischief for damage to the building.

Waltz said Fish allegedly lit the fire because he was trying to stay warm inside. Police don’t think the fire was intentional. Investigators believe it was a case of the fire not being extinguished properly, “not that you should be building fires in people’s HVAC systems,” Waltz said.

Fish has a West Bath District Court date of March 22.

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