The couple that owns Sundara Day Spa in Berlin face charges of first-degree arson for allegedly setting fire to the business last weekend.
Police say Lesilee Kirby, 48, and Kristopher Kirby, 47, of Montpellier plotted to burn the building at 672 U.S. Route 2 “due to financial issues with the spa business.”
Kristopher Kirby allegedly poured gasoline inside the building before igniting it and fleeing on foot to a nearby business where had parked his vehicle.
Berlin police say video surveillance of the surrounding area, footprints in the snow leading to and from the fire scene and interviews with potential witnesses led the arrests of the Kirbys.
Firefighters from Berlin, Barre City and several other departments responded to the fire just before 7 pm Sunday. Crews were greeted by heavy smoke coming from the first floor of the spa. Firefighters entered the building and battled the fire in the lobby and down a hallway.
On Tuesday, two days before their arrest, the Kirbys posted about the fire on Facebook, thanking supporters for the “caring private messages of concern and offers to assist.”
Investigators say that, in addition to the strong odor of an ignitable liquid, possibly gasoline, they found a partially burned plastic gasoline container.
Lesilee and Kristopher Kirby were scheduled to be arraigned Thursday.
Anyone with information about the fire is encouraged to contact the Berlin Police Department at 802-223-4401 or Det. Sgt. Todd Ambroz of the Vermont State Police Fire & Explosion Investigation Unit at 802-878-7111.