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 1778, Capt. James Cook is first European to set eyes on Maui in Hawaiian Islands; 1922, Pharoah Tutankhamun found after 3000 years; 1909, Hollawood movie star Frances Dee born in Los Angeles.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Hazmat unit called downtown, Boys & Girls Club hosts dinner for members and families, Secret Santa back on the beat, city discusses runoff problem on Mayfield Road, Brandon gets creative about fixes to town roads, sidewalks.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: In 1944, U.S. begins B-29 bombing raids on Japanese main islands; in 1950, Great Appalachian Storm begins to form; 1963, Lee Oswald killed by Jack Ruby; 1974, D.B. Cooper hijacks Seattle-bound airliner; 1974, 'Lucy' found.
- 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.