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Man Charged With Arson In Fire That Gutted Historic NH Church

LEBANON, New Hampshire (CBS) — An arson arrest was made in the fire that destroyed a historic church last week.

Anthony Boisvert, 27, was taken into custody Sunday night.

Anthony Boisvert. (Lebanon Police)

Anthony Boisvert. (Lebanon Police)

He is being charged with arson and first degree assault, though authorities said more charges might follow.

Police said he deliberately set fire to the First Baptist Church on School Street in Lebanon, which was built in the 1800s–and they say he also stabbed a 52-year-old man and 66-year-old woman at a nearby condo complex shortly before he was attested Sunday.

Flames tore through the church shortly after 11 p.m. on Wednesday, Dec. 29.

 

The historic First Baptist Church in Lebanon, New Hampshire, which was destroyed in a fire last Wednesday. (WBZ-TV)

The historic First Baptist Church in Lebanon, New Hampshire, which was destroyed in a fire last Wednesday. (WBZ-TV)

The church was completely destroyed in the three-alarm blaze, which collapsed the building’s roof and left authorities worried about the danger of the steeple and its 1,600-pound bell falling on nearby homes.

A second fire was reported about an hour later in the basement of a building on Mascoma Street, where a couch had been set on fire. That fire was extinguished by sprinklers before firefighters arrived.

Nobody was injured in either fire. Investigators found both blazes to be suspicious.

Boisvert was named as a person of interest, but authorities soon found he had fled the area.

The fire completely destroyed Lebanon's First Baptist Church. (Photo courtesy Michael Mason)

The fire completely destroyed Lebanon’s First Baptist Church. (Photo courtesy Michael Mason)

Around 9:10 p.m. on New Year’s Day, Lebanon Police responded to a stabbing at the Boulder’s Condominium Complex on Wolf Road. The man and woman, who both had multiple, serious stab wounds, were able to identify Boisvert as their attacker, and said he had fled on foot.

The man and woman are being treated at Dartmouth–Hitchcock Medical Center in Lebanon, and police said their injuries aren’t considered life-threatening.

With the assistance of a K-9 unit, Boisvert was found and arrested on Tannery Lane around 10:15 p.m.

Lebanon Police said Boisvert also set a fire that completely destroyed an abandoned building on Hanover Street Extension in January of 2016.

He is expected to be arraigned Tuesday in Lebanon District Court.

WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Carl Stevens reports

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