Victims of a string of suspicious fires in a Vermont resort town breathed a sigh of relief Wednesday following word a man was arrested.
An attorney for Jeffrey Nolan, 62, of Stowe, entered not guilty pleas to eight charges of arson.
"He does make mention in the affidavit of some mental health issues," noted defense attorney Rory Malone following the not guilty pleas that came during a remote court hearing Wednesday.
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Judge Nancy Waples authorized a pre-trial release from jail for Nolan, determining he was not a risk to skip town before future hearings.
Among the conditions of release, Judge Waples ordered a sanity screening, a strict curfew, and said the suspect cannot own any fire-starting materials.
"I just couldn't sleep," said Rick Rothammer of Stowe Cable, describing how he would make late-night trips to check on the tv, internet, and phone provider's buildings after a pair of fires.
The first fire that affected Rothammer and his coworkers was in August 2020, and the second was last week.
The Jan. 7 blaze was caught on camera.
The Stowe Police Department said the surveillance video helped them make an arrest, noting that community members have provided tips all throughout the investigation that were helpful.
"I think I'm going to sleep like a rock tonight," Rothammer said, referring to the fact an arrest had been made.
Those eight fires caused well over $1.5-million in damage to properties around the famous Vermont resort town, according to Vermont State Police.
The public library and Ute Beede's business, Uncle George's Flowers, were hit the same night in the spring of 2019, police said.
"I'm happy he's caught," Beede said Wednesday, referring to Nolan. "The monetary loss is the least. It's what you go through emotionally and the stress it puts on you. There's always this little thing in the back of your head that thinks, 'What if he lights up the wrong place and there's a person inside?'"
Stowe's police chief, Donald Hull, praised the state police arson unit and federal partners for their teamwork on a long and tough investigstion.
"Anyone who had lived in this area or who had buildings in the vicinity of all these fires were probably on edge, wanting to know if their property was next," Hull told NECN. "So I do think the community can relax a little bit—put their mind at ease that these, hopefully, have come to an end."
Hull added that there were several other fires in the community that detectives are now taking a second look at, seeing if it is possible Nolan might've also been involved in those.