Franklin Countys First News

Woman charged with arson: ‘I didn’t do it’

RANGELEY - A woman was arrested and charged with intentionally setting fire to property she and her estranged husband own at 40 Allen Street.

Kelly R. Bachelder

Kelly R. Bachelder, 46, of Rangeley, faces a Class A arson charge after an investigator with the state's Fire Marshal's Office said evidence at the fire scene and interviews with eyewitnesses connected with the case, led him to the conclusion she should be arrested and charged. Bachelder was released late this week on $1,000 cash bail with numerous conditions of release attached.

On March 7, at about 5:30 p.m., firefighters received a report from a neighbor that the attached barn/garage at the house at 40 Allen Street's was on fire. The neighbor said she heard a "popping sound" and looking out her window saw flames coming from the garage.

Kelly Bachelder lives at 45 Pleasant Street and her estranged husband Odias Bachelder in Lang Township. The couple co-own the small, 1 1/2 story house valued at $51,600 and used for storage of plumbing supplies for his business. The house and barn were insured for $60,000 plus $6,500 for its contents, according to fire investigator Edward Hastings' report.

According to witnesses, Kelly Bachelder was allegedly seen coming and going from the house at least three times on the day of the fire. The neighbor across the street said the last time she saw Kelly Bachelder at the house was about 10 to 15 minutes before she noticed the garage on fire.

The neighbor, who is related to Odias Bachelder by marriage, told Hastings she thought Kelly Bachelder might have set the fire because she and Odias were going through a "bad divorce," according to Hastings' report.

Hastings noted that there was no heat or electricity on in the garage area, where he determined one fire started. He reportedly found another fire had been started in the kitchen and, using an accelerant detection canine, the presence of an ignitable liquid was believed to have been present at both sites.

When Hastings interviewed Kelly Bachelder, she reportedly told him she had been at the Allen Street house on March 7 to inventory its contents.

Hastings said when a friend of Kelly Bachelder called her to tell her her house was on fire, she allegedly replied, "I didn't do it." The house was heavily damaged and the barn was completely destroyed.

"She became increasingly angry over the length of the divorce process and she wasn't getting her fair share," Hastings wrote in his report. "I believe that on March 7, 2010, Ms. Bachelder was at her breaking point."

Following his investigation, Hastings came to the conclusion that Kelly Bachelder intentionally started the fire at 40 Allen Street. She was arrested at her home on March 24 and made her first court appearance on March 25.

Among the conditions of her release, Kelly Bachelder can't possess dangerous weapons, including firearms; no use or possession of open flame devices or ignitable liquids except fuel for her vehicle; no contact with her husband, the neighbors and others related to the case; she has to refrain from going to any maritial property except her home at 45 Pleasant Street; can't go to Allen Street and is not allowed to pass the town office on School Street in Rangeley.

She has to submit to random searches and can't walk on Route 16 within two miles of 1430 Rangeley Road in Lang Township, except to pass by car.

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