Man denies arson charge in Vt. church fireThe Associated Press | October 24,2013BURLINGTON - A Burlington man was charged Wednesday with setting fire to an historic church downtown.
Alaiksandr Bychkou, 32, told authorities that voices told him there was a treasure in the steeple at the College Street Congregational Church, according to a police affidavit.
Police were called at 5:34 a.m. after the custodian at the College Street Congregational Church found a door open and heard someone in the steeple.
Bychkou was found inside and was initially taken into custody on a charge of unlawful trespass, police said. Shortly afterward, the bell tower erupted in flames.
Bychkou pleaded not guilty Wednesday afternoon to second-degree arson and burglary and was jailed for lack of $25,000 bail.
A judge ordered him to undergo a mental health evaluation.
The fire was largely contained to the church steeple and the building is not a total loss, Fire Chief Seth Lasker said. A church official told the Burlington Free Press that engineers determined that the steeple must be removed.
"Engineers have told us that we need to take it down before it falls down," said Nick Hardin, a member of the College Street Congregational Church.
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1927, striking Colo. miners attacked with machine guns by state police; 1877, Thomas Edison announces invention of the phonograph, 1959, Alan Freed fired by WABC 770 AM for accepting payola to promote records.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1863, President Abraham Lincoln delivers short speech in Gettysburg, Pa.; in 1984, a Pemex LNG facility destroyed by series of gas explosions, 600 people are killed; in 1998, Senate builds fire under Bill Clinton.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1831 – Independent South American super-state, Gran Colombia, dissolved; 1856 - Fort Buchanan built to control Apache warriors; 1970 - William Calley Jr. goes on trial after 1968 massacre at My Lai, Vietnam.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: Wisconsin Sen. Joe McCarthy takes advantage of Cold War jitters and builds a tidy little fiefdom for himself on Capitol Hill. It's all good, but pride goes before you know darn well what. The junior senator is damaged going down.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1927, Leon Trotsky is expelled from the Soviet Communist Party, leaving Joseph Stalin in control of the Soviet Union; in 1970, Oregon DOT tries to dynamite a dead whale off a beach with a rather shocking result.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: In 1972, Southern Airways Flight 49 is hijacked, the crew and passengers held for ransom. The hijackers want $10 million and passage to Cuba. In 2007, in Santiago, Chile, King Juan Carlos of Spain loses patience with Hugo Chavez.