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Castleberry Fairs

Colcord charged with 10 counts of arson



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JOHN COLCORD driving a Madison Fire Department truck in the Freedom Old Home Day parade on July 30. (Mellisa Seamans photo) (click for larger version)
January 19, 2012
OSSIPEE— Carroll County Grand Jury has indicted John Robert Colcord, 18, of Eaton and charged him with setting 10 fires in four towns last summer. Colcord has been out on bail with the condition that he wears an electronic monitoring bracelet since his arrest Sept. 1 in connection with one of those fires.

At the time of Colcord's arrest, NH State Fire Marshal's Office Investigator Thomas Riley confirmed that "the investigative team has identified a suspect responsible for thirteen fires and an arrest has been made in relation to one of the fires…future charges and arrests will be forthcoming for the other related fires."

An indictment is not an indication of guilt but rather means that the grand jury has found there has been sufficient evidence presented in felony-level cases for the defendant to be formally charged and for the case to move forward.

Colcord is scheduled to be formally charged with the offenses at his arraignment in Third Circuit Court in Ossipee on Jan. 25 at 8:30 a.m.

The indictments charge Colcord with six misdemeanor counts of arson and allege that Colcord set three fires in the Ossipee Pine Barrens, on May 31, June 1, and June 5, 2011. As reported at the time of the fires, on May 31, under an extended period of no significant rainfall, at about 11 p.m. crews were called to the Ossipee Pine Barrens off Route 41 in Madison to extinguish about an acre of forest fire. The next afternoon, June 1, they were called to put out a 3-acre burn area in a different area of the Pine Barrens. Then on the morning of June 5, approximately 50 firefighters responded to yet another area of the Pine Barrens and spent about five hours putting out that fire. He is also charged with three counts of arson for allegedly setting three fires in the woods on property belonging to Purity Springs Resort in Madison.

It is the four felony-level arson charges, alleging that Colcord burned down four buildings that carry the possibility of the heaviest penalty and could have him facing three and a half years to 15 years in prison on each count.

Colcord is charged with the June 8, 2011 arson that destroyed a seasonal cabin tucked on a hill in the woods at 318 Page Hill Road in Tamworth; the June 21 fire that leveled two large post-and-beam barns and killed several animals at 192 Mooney Hill Road in Madison; the June 27 fire at 22 Glines Hill Road in Eaton that burned a barn, attached ell, and part of the home; and the June 27 fire that leveled a house at 162 Watson Hill Road in Freedom.

Colcord was serving as a volunteer firefighter on Madison Fire Department when he allegedly committed the arsons, but was terminated from his position at some point between the June 27 fire and his Sept. 1 arrest.

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