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Peterborough

Former fireman indicted in arson

A former Peterborough firefighter and EMT has been indicted on arson charges, and his case will be moving forward in Strafford County Superior Court.

Gregory Potter, 22, of Jaffrey was arrested in September following months of investigation that allegedly linked him to a series of fires in Durham set over the course of two and a half hours on Feb. 2. All five fires occurred in the early morning hours, and all were set at residences with people inside. Some of the apartment buildings were housing University of New Hampshire students. One building and barn, located at 4 Smith Park Lane, was razed to the ground.

On Dec. 19, a Strafford County Grand Jury indicted Potter on five counts of arson and one count of falsifying physical evidence, meaning that the jury found there was enough evidence to take the case to trial. Potter was not indicted on two charges of criminal mischief, which he was charged with at the time of his arrest in September.

Potter is scheduled to appear for arraignment at the Strafford County Superior Court in Dover on Friday at 9 a.m., according to court officials. The trial date has not been set.

The charges stem from a string of fires allegedly set on Main Street and Smith Park Lane in Durham on Feb. 2, between the hours of 1:06 and 3:30 a.m. The criminal mischief charges were related to cars at the Smith Park Lane property, which were damaged by the fire. The charge of falsifying evidence relates to six photographs of the Feb. 2 Smith Park Lane fire Potter allegedly took with his cell phone, and then, police say, deleted to impede the investigation.

The first fire was a mattress fire inside 15 Main St. Witnesses reported seeing a Subaru with a Peterborough Fire Department sticker behind the building, according to police affidavits. Potter had previously been involved in other incidents at that address, including an alleged fight in September 2012 and an incident in which he was accused of spraying a fire extinguisher at vehicles belonging to the tenants of 15 Main St. That same night, witnesses came across someone attempting to light a bath towel on fire at 19 Main St.

Potter also stands accused of starting fires at 6 Main St. and 20 Main St.

At the time of the fires, Potter was in the area of Durham, visiting friends at the University of New Hampshire, where he had formerly been a student.

In February, Potter was an on-call firefighter and EMT in Peterborough, and had been since June 2011. In mid-February, when town officials were notified that Potter was a suspect in the Feb. 2 fires, he was placed on unpaid administrative leave. On April 1, Potter officially resigned from the Fire Department.

Potter has not been connected with any suspicious fires in Peterborough.

Ashley Saari can be reached at 924-7172 ex. 244, or asaari@ledgertranscript.com. She’s on Twitter @AshleySaari.

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