• Man denies arson charge in Vt. church fire
    The Associated Press | October 24,2013
    • Email Article
    •  
    •  Print Article
     
    BURLINGTON - 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.
    • Email Article
    •  
    •  Print Article
    2 Comments
    MORE IN This Just In
    The civil lawsuit filed against the city by a former officer alleges issues within the Rutland... Full Story
    It’s hard to get more Vermont-ish than Plymouth Notch. Full Story
    A coffeehouse festival: Plymouth Folk and Blues
    The behavior of several Rutland City Police officers named in a civil lawsuit by a former officer... Full Story
    More Articles