Fires getting two separate investigations

MILFORD – Authorities are investigating an attempt to burn down the gazebo on the Milford Oval, but won’t say whether it is connected to the late-night arson fire that gutted the Garden Street School.

“They are being treated right now as separate investigations,” said investigator John Raymond of the state fire marshal’s office.

On Wednesday afternoon, investigators removed material from the bandstand in the center of town, but Raymond declined to say anything more. No visible damage was done to the structure, which has hosted everything from political rallies to elementary-school bands.

“Someone attempted to burn down the gazebo on the Oval. The time frame, we’re not sure of,” Raymond said.

Raymond said interviews and other investigations are continuing on the Garden Street School fire.

“Obviously, the highest priority is over at the school,” he said.

The 79-year-old school burned in a spectacular blaze that was first spotted early Monday, shortly after midnight.

The next day, Milford voters narrowly approved a plan to tear the school down in preparation for building a new police station there – but not before there was considerable speculation that the arson was somehow related to the vote. Raymond and Fire Chief Richard Pauley, however, have repeatedly said the investigation has shown no connection between the two.

Garden Street has been largely empty for two years, used only by the Sage School, a special-education school for teens who have difficulty coping with traditional classrooms.

David Brooks can be reached at 594-5831 or