by Andrew Martin
A court date has been set for six individuals involved with the fire in Belvidere that destroyed several small buildings in late October. The Vermont State Police issued citations for various crimes to Joshua Boomhower, Eric Ingalls, Linda Ingalls, Conrad Slayton, Elana Manning, and Christopher Slayton after interviewing those on Monday, November 19.
The fire that caused the investigation occurred on Saturday, October 27, when local authorities and fire departments were called to the scene of a remote fire near 204 Boarding House Hill Road in Belvidere Center on land owned by Joseph Russo. Upon responding to the scene authorities were able to locate the fire after some difficulties caused by the remoteness of the region. Further investigation revealed that the fire occurred in the 500 acre sugar bush owned by Russo and that a small eight by 12 foot warming hut had been destroyed as a result of the blaze before it burned itself out. No one was injured as a result of the fire.
On Tuesday, October 30 Russo, a Highgate business owner, contacted members of the Vermont State Police and asked that a further investigation be conducted regarding the fire. The next day a member of the Vermont State Police Fire Investigation Unit conducted the investigation and found that the fire was suspicious in nature. On Friday, November 16, investigators received further information that a second warming hut had been intentionally burned on the same sugarbush at the same time as the original blaze. The initial damage report for the first burned hut was $500.
New damage reports may be filed.
Authorities continued their investigation, and on Monday, November 19, they brought six individuals to the Vermont State Police Barracks in Middlesex for questioning. Following their interviews the individuals were cited. Joshua Boomhower, age 24 of Belvidere, was charged with Second Degree Arson and Unlawful Mischief; Eric Ingalls, age 42 of Belvidere, was charged with Second Decree Arson; Linda Ingalls, age 39 of Belvidere, was charged with Accessory Second Degree Arson; Conrad Slayton, age 29 of Belvidere, was charged with Accessory Second Degree Arson; Elana Manning, age 29 of Belvidere, was charged with Accessory Second Degree Arson; and Christopher Slayton, age 36 of Belvidere, was charged with Accessory Second Degree Arson.
The six individuals are scheduled to appear in Lamoille Superior Court – Criminal Division on Wednesday, January 16 to answer the charges against them. The total damage estimates that resulted from the blaze are still being gathered by the landowner and will be provided to the Lamoille County State’s Attorney at a later date.