A week after an arsonist allegedly set fire to the Dike Newell Elementary School, Regional School District 1 administrators are still surveying the damage determining what repairs need to be made. Meanwhile, members of the community have been reaching out asking to contribute.

“Without a place to put items or an exact list of what is needed, as we have been unable to get into the building to make a concrete inventory, it is difficult to accept donations now or determine what our needs are for wish lists, etc.,” RSU1 Superintendent Patrick Manuel wrote in a letter to the district’s families.

The fire started around 10:30 p.m. on June 10 when Allan Thomas Vigil allegedly broke into the school and used a lighter to ignite paper in the school’s art supply closet. After his arraignment at the West Bath District Court on June 13, Vigil was taken to Two Bridges Jail in Wiscasset where he will await his next court date on Aug. 24.

This was not Vigil’s first offense, according to the Maine Department of Corrections, Vigil was sentenced on three counts of arson back in 2014. After his 12-year sentence was suspended, Vigil was ordered to serve four years’ probation and undergo psychological counseling.

The Office of State Fire Marshal reported extensive damage to the school.

“We have been diligently working with our insurance company and are waiting for more information from them on the coverage of what was lost,” Manuel said. 


Dike-Newell School parent Shelly Daniels said her son cried when he learned about the fire at his school, but said the community has stepped up in a big way.

“I’m extremely impressed with how the school is handling everything and the outpouring of support from the community. It’s why we love our city so much. They are taking an awful tragedy and showing what it means for a community to come together to persevere through it,” she said.  

“We are so grateful for all the offers of help and service, and we will be in touch soon once we have a clearer sense of specific needs and storage locations,” Manuel said. “In the meantime, please know that our entire Dike-Newell School community can feel the support and we look forward to using everyone’s help very soon in the future when we have more information.”



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