STRAFFORD — An early morning fire that razed a home in Strafford on Saturday is now the center of an arson investigation.
Vermont State Police have arrested the homeowner, 37-year-old Edward Gallagher III, on charges of first degree arson following the incident.
At approximately 8 a.m., authorities were alerted to a fully engulfed residence at 68 Taylor Valley Road that had burned to its foundation.
The Strafford Volunteer Fire Department, upon arriving at the smoldering scene, quickly identified suspicious elements prompting a request for the Vermont Department of Public Safety Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit to carry out a detailed examination.
Their findings indicated that the fire had been deliberately ignited during the overnight hours.
The homeowner, Gallagher, was initially unaccounted for after the fire.
However, around 9:20 a.m., a report from a nearby store pinpointed his location, leading to his arrest without any confrontations.
Set for arraignment at 1 p.m. on Monday, Sept. 11, in the Criminal Division of Vermont Superior Court in Chelsea, Gallagher is currently held without bail.
The investigation remains active, with authorities urging anyone with relevant information to reach out to Detective Sgt. Christopher Blais at the Royalton Barracks at 802-234-9933.