ALFRED — A former Old Orchard Beach fire chief has been indicted on a felony arson charge and a related misdemeanor in connection with a seven-alarm fire in April that burned 42 acres of marshland in the town.

Ricky Plummer, 59, of Biddeford resigned from his post about a week after he was arrested on the arson charge on May 7. He was initially ordered held on $10,000 bail, but has since been released from the York County Jail, though his exact release date was not available Friday.

The York County grand jury returned an indictment against Plummer on Aug. 3, charging him with Class A arson, punishable by up to 30 years in prison, and failure to control or report a dangerous fire.

He is scheduled to appear in court again on Sept. 8 to enter his plea to those charges. But his attorney, William Bly, has since filed a motion seeking to have the arraignment date pushed back to November because of a scheduling conflict.

Bly did not return a phone message seeking comment.

The fire on April 15 erupted in a marsh around the Little River. As more than 100 firefighters from several fire departments worked to put out the blaze, residents of the Davenport condo complex were evacuated. Flames came within 100 feet of the buildings, but no one was injured.


Plummer admitted to investigators that he started the fire, but denied doing so intentionally, saying he discarded a cigarette butt in dry, chest-high marsh grass, according to court records.

But fire investigators found no evidence of a discarded cigarette or smoking materials in the area where the wildfire began, and no one close to Plummer could confirm ever seeing him smoke before – he even told investigators that he doesn’t like smoking, doesn’t like the taste and does not inhale.

Because the fire occurred on state-owned property, the Maine Forest Rangers were the primary investigative agency, working for weeks after the blaze to determine the cause. The fire was determined to have originated in the marsh behind 164 East Grand Ave., where a footpath connects to a smaller game trail leading into the marsh and the area where the fire began.

According to investigators, on the afternoon of the fire, Plummer told dispatch at 2:21 p.m. that he was headed to 221 East Grand Ave. to perform a building inspection.

But security footage recorded at the Friendship Oceanside Suites on East Grand Avenue showed Plummer’s marked fire chief vehicle parked a few minutes later behind a vacant building at 164 East Grand Ave., nearly a mile south of the address where he said he would be, and about a four-minute walk from where the fire began.

In the video footage, which is described in a court affidavit, Plummer crossed the train tracks and disappeared from view for roughly 25 minutes, the period when investigators say he set the fire.


During that time, Plummer even radioed back to dispatch to say his inspection was complete.

One minute after he returned to his vehicle at 2:53 p.m., someone called 911 to report the wildfire, according to the affidavit.

Investigators said that Plummer also lied about his whereabouts during the early moments of the emergency response, and withheld information from investigators.

Plummer had been a firefighter since 1974.

He served as the fire chief in Old Orchard Beach since 2014 and earned an annual salary of $70,500.


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