WORCESTER - Two Clinton men who authorities say set a series of fires in Central and Western Massachusetts are also facing charges in a blaze that destroyed the birthplace of the girl made famous by the nursery rhyme "Mary Had a Little Lamb."
John Rousseau and Michael Dreslinski are scheduled to be arraigned today in Worcester on a charge of setting a fire that burned down a vacant house in Sterling that was the birthplace of Mary Elizabeth Sawyer. Sarah Josepha Hale published a poem in 1830 about Sawyer, as a child, bringing her lamb to school with her.
Rousseau and Dreslinski have been held without bail since August, when they were arrested on arson charges in a vacant warehouse fire that destroyed part of the Usher Paper Mill in Erving. They are also charged in fires that damaged a barn in Holden and a railroad bungalow in the Western Massachusetts town of Florida.
The men pleaded not guilty at their earlier arraignment in the mill fire. They were arrested after an investigation that involved police tracking the men with a global positioning system installed in Dreslinski's truck under an unrelated court order.
Rousseau and Dreslinski were indicted in the fires in Sterling and Holden in December. Calls to their lawyer were not immediately returned yesterday.