Dike Newell School in Bath, which was closed after a fire Friday night and Saturday morning caused heavy damage, was in flames again Monday morning.

The fire reignited around 8:30 a.m. and was extinguished by noon, according to Bath Police Chief Andrew Booth.

Sections of High Street near Wright Drive were closed as crews battled flames that could be seen coming from the roof of the pre-K-grade 2 elementary school.

The roof of Dike Newell School in Bath burns, as seen Monday, June 13 Contributed photo via William Rankis

By 9 a.m., smoke and flames could be seen coming from the roof of the already-damaged building as crews fought back with a ladder truck.

Multiple first responders from communities including Phippsburg, West Bath and Brunswick, among others, were on hand to help.

Allan Thomas Vigil, 30, of Bath has been charged with burglary and arson in connection with the fire at Dike Newell School Friday night.


He was arrested by the State Fire Marshal’s Office and the Bath Police Department while riding a bicycle on Denny Road, which is about a half-mile from the school. Vigil was taken into custody “without incident” and was taken to the Two Bridges Regional Jail in Wiscasset, according to Maine Department of Public Safety spokeswoman Shannon Moss.

Vigil, as seen in 2014 File photo / Maine Department of Corrections

He was arraigned Monday in West Bath District Court.

“He could see quite a bit of jail time for this,” said Booth.

Vigil is being charged with a Class A felony, punishable by up to 30 years’ incarceration and a $50,000 fine

According to the Maine Department of Corrections, in 2014, Vigil was sentenced on three counts of arson to 12 years of incarceration, all of which were suspended. He served four years of probation.

Vigil was ordered to undergo psychological counseling.


The sentencing came after a 2013 arrest, where he faced seven felony charges of arson and one felony burglary charge, according to a Maine criminal background check.

Friday’s fire caused “extensive damage,” to the 62-year-old building, according to school Principal Jennifer McKay. Everything inside the building, including personal items belonging to students, teachers and staff is likely a total loss due to fire, smoke and water damage.

Bath Fire Chief Lawrence Renaud said Monday’s fire was “a flare-up” from the original fire set on Friday.

“The good news is, we believe this was not a set fire and our community should be able to rest easy knowing this,” said Renaud. “It’s kind of a double edge sword for us, as we took extreme measures to make sure we put the original fire out, but do to complex construction, with additions creating void spaces in an old structure, we may have missed a smoldering ember.”

A portion of the elementary school may need to be torn down because of extensive damage, said Booth.

Lou Ensel, chair of the Regional School Unit 1 board of directors, said the fire is covered by the district’s insurance.


However, questions remain as to whether the school will be repaired or rebuilt. For now, it’s too soon to get those answers, according to Ensel.

“We want to get through this week, and make sure the kids are fine and the staff is fine,” Ensel said on Monday, speaking from the intersection of High Street and Wright Drive, where onlookers watched as firefighters battled the most recent fire. “After that, we can focus on the next steps.”

The roof of Dike Newell School in Bath burns, as seen Monday, June 13. Contributed photo via William Rankis

The district’s facilities committee has been pondering the future of both of Bath’s elementary schools for the past few years. The district is on the state waiting list for funding for new school construction, Ensel said, with the hopes of building one new K-5 elementary school.

Speaking at the scene of Monday’s fire, RSU1 Facilities Director Dave Richards said little is known about the condition of the school due to the flare-up.

The roof of Dike Newell School in Bath burns, as seen Monday, June 13. John Swinconeck / The Times Record

As a result of the fire, Dike Newell students did not have classes Monday and were set to attend classes in the morning at Fisher Mitchell Elementary School, which typically serves students in grades 3-5.

Richards said the plan is to construct an outdoor classroom as tents, tables and chairs were being assembled for Dike Newell students at Fisher Mitchell.


Hyde School, a private boarding school across the street from Fisher Mitchell, is providing additional parking for staff and has offered their gym.

“The community’s stepping up,” Richards said. “All the other schools are rounding up school supplies and shipping them to Fisher Mitchell. … We’ll be ready when the kids come back tomorrow.”

This is the final week of the school year.

Onlookers watch firefighters battle another fire Monday at Dike Newell School in Bath. John Swinconeck / The Times Record

Ensel said he hoped the support from Fisher Mitchell as well as the community would help students end the year “on a really positive note.”

However, he noted the psychological impact the second fire may have on a community still in shock from the first blaze.

“People are shocked, and hearing the sirens again this morning — everyone’s telling me they’re a little jumpy,” Ensel said.

“The community really came together, from Hyde School providing parking to Midcoast Youth Center bringing in snacks to the other elementary schools bringing in books,” Ensel said, speaking just outside Dike Newell School grounds as crews fought the most recent fire. “In these tough times, what’s great to see is when the community comes together. That’s our community. That’s what we do.”

Crews from multiple departments help fight another fire at Dike Newell School on Monday in Bath. John Swinconeck / The Times Record

Note: John Swinconeck is the parent of a Dike Newell student.

Related Headlines

Comments are not available on this story.