UPDATE: Arrest warrant issued after Thomaston house fire

Tue, 06/21/2022 - 2:00pm

    June 21: According to the Fire Marshal’s Office, a fire that brought multiple fire departments to 59 Water Street, in Thomaston, on June 15, was determined to be incendiary in nature. Larry Winchenbach, 40, of Thomaston, was arrested by Thomaston Police Sgt. Chris Hansen after an investigator from the Fire Marshal's Office issued an arrest warrant, June 17, for Winchenbach on an arson charge. 


    Winchenbach is currently at the Knox County Jail, according to the Maine Department of Public Safety.

    June 16: A day later, the investigation continues into the cause of fire that found its way within the second floor and attic space of a house on Water Street, in Thomaston, Wednesday afternoon.

    Soon after arriving to 59 Water Street, Thomaston Fire Chief Mikial Mazzeo requested a two-alarm assignment, bringing extra personnel to assist with operations.

    Due to increasing heat conditions within the exterior fire zone, ventilation through the roof was necessary to help relieve the conditions, dissipate the smoke, and find the fire itself, according Mazzeo. Half an hour later, when those ventilation holes found their marks, flames emerged through the roofline. Not long after that, firefighters gained control of the blaze, Mazzeo said.

    Video by Jared - CoolFireTrucks YouTube


    The owner of a house on Water Street in Thomaston says it has been an absolute nightmare trying to evict the squatters who’d taken up residence. The owner had purchased the house as a foreclosure after four years of Town ownership, and even cutting the water and electricity were no match for the squatters, who brought in their own generator and simply lived without water. Yet, as established as they were within the confines, they were still considered homeless, and elusive.

    “Try serving eviction papers to someone in a hotel room,” said the owner.

    The squatters had been at the house as recently as this morning, according to a neighbor who said he heard arguing from the property earlier. At approximately 1:05 p.m., Wednesday, June 15, 2022, that neighbor called 911 after his son remarked about smoke coming from 59 Water Street. He then, at the request of first responders, parked his truck at a nearby intersection to keep traffic away from the scene.

    Fire departments from Thomaston, South Thomaston, Rockland, Warren, Cushing, St. George, Waldoboro and Friendship, along with ambulance crews from Thomaston and South Thomaston encountered smoke coming from the roof of the three story wooden structure. Half an hour later, after creating vent holes in the roof shingles, a torrent of flames sprouted into the air, pushed skyward by streams of hose water.

    Air temperatures in the upper 70s added to the risk of hyperthermia, increasing the need for bottled drinking water.

    Camden brought an engine, and Thomaston Police assisted with scene health and safety.

    The Fire Marshal’s Office has been called.

    The last remaining fire responders left the house at approximately 5:50 p.m.


    Reach Sarah Thompson at news@penbaypilot.com