Across Maine

Public Safety, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife wrap up: fires, arrests, investigations

Fri, 01/11/2019 - 10:00am

MAINE — The start of the new year was no less busy for members of the Maine Public Safety Department and Inland Fisheries and Wildlife. A fatal fire and another fire resulting in serious injury brought investigators to two towns. Law enforcement agents arrested a man already connected to a murder investigation. And game wardens confirmed the state’s first snowmobile casualty, as well as sought information about an injured eagle.


January 2
A Winthrop man was seriously injured in a nighttime fire at his home at 38 Maranacook Station Lane. 
62-year-old Thomas Thompson was treated at Maine Medical Center in Portland for smoke inhalation and burns. 
Thompson told firefighters that wood and other items near his wood stove caught fire about 8 p.m., and the blaze spread throughout the house. 
The home on Maranacook Lake was destroyed in the fire.  


January 3
The State Fire Marshal's Office said that a man has died in a house fire in North Anson overnight, Thursday, Jan. 3 into Friday, Jan. 4.

The body of the homeowner, 63-year-old William Bloom, was recovered from the home after fire swept through the house on North Main Street in the pre-dawn hours.
His body was found by firefighters in the kitchen.
A team of fire investigators determined the cause of the blaze to be accidental. They believe the fire started when combustibles located too close to an electric heater caught fire.
Investigators had to seek Bloom’s relatives out of state to notify them of his death.  

January 3
State Police arrested a man from Peru, Thursday, Jan. 3, and charged him in connection with the deaths of a couple inside their apartment in South Paris on New Year's Day. 
49-year-old Mark Penley is charged with two counts of murder following the deaths of Heather Bickford and Dana Hill, both 31. Police found the couple's bodies in Hill's downtown apartment Tuesday night, Jan. 1, after Penley made a 911 call to police reporting the deaths.
He was arrested at the Rumford Police Department about 7:30 p.m., after going to the Rumford Police Station to be interviewed by detectives. From there, he was transported to the Oxford County Jail. 
He was scheduled to make his first court appearance Friday, Jan. 4, at the Oxford Courthouse in South Paris.


January 5

According to Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife, a Long Pond man died in Maine’s first fatal snowmobile crash this season.

Bryan Sylvester, 57, left on snowmobile from his Long Pond Road home, near Jackman, for a snowmobile ride around 2 p.m.

Game wardens now know that Sylvester had driven about one-and a-half miles from his home onto Long Pond near the confluence of Parlin Stream, where it appears he struck a large snow drift.

Sylvester, who worked for the Maine Department of Transportation, was killed when he was ejected from his snowmobile onto a very uneven ice surface.

Game wardens were notified and immediately responded at about 6 p.m. A search of the area resulted in game wardens locating Sylvester’s body at 7:45 p.m.

Sylvester had been riding alone and was operating without a helmet on his 2008 Ski Doo MXZ 600.

His body was taken to Giberson Funeral Home in Madison. 

Jackman Fire and Ambulance assisted with this incident.

Game wardens planned to map the scene and continued their investigation into Sylvester’s death, January 6.


January 7

Maine game wardens issued a request for information from the public, January 7, regarding an eagle that was shot in the town of Waterford.

On Wednesday, Dec. 26, the Warden Service responded to a report on Papoose Pond in Waterford for a bald eagle acting abnormally. The eagle was only able to fly short distances but managed to elude a game warden attempting to capture it for evaluation.

A few days later, the game warden returned to the pond and located the eagle in the same area. The eagle appeared very weak and less mobile. The eagle was captured and transported to Avian Haven in Freedom, Maine.

X-rays showed the eagle had been shot, with six shotgun pellets lodged in its jaw, wing, and leg.

On December 30, Avian Haven reported the eagle had died. An exact cause of death was not given but tests suggested starvation.

Maine Operation Game Thief (OGT) has offered a reward of up to $1,000 for information that leads to a conviction of the person(s) responsible.

Game wardens are asking anyone with information or knowledge of this incident to call Maine Operation Game Thief at 1-800-ALERT-US (1-800-253-7887) or public safety dispatch in Augusta at (207) 624-7076. Callers can remain anonymous via the OGT call line.

Maine’s eagle population is in healthy shape with 734 nesting pairs in 2019. These numbers are up from a low of 21 nesting pairs in 1967.

A survey this year documented eagle increases in all Maine counties since the last statewide survey five years ago.

Reach Sarah Thompson at