A Pawtucket man is being held without bail on charges he set fires five times at the homes of his ex-girlfriend, her relatives and her new boyfriend in Central Falls and Providence.
State prosecutors said 20-year-old Franci Vilorio appeared in Providence District Court on Wednesday. He is charged with five counts of first-degree arson. A bail hearing will be held on July 13.
Vilorio was arrested early Wednesday. He is accused of setting fire to the Providence home of his ex-girlfriend’s new love interest and the Central Falls home of her sister during the early morning hours on Wednesday.
Vilorio also tried to set fire to the Providence home on Tuesday, police said. Central Falls Acting Fire Chief Gerard Dion said the home of Vilorio’s ex-girlfriend also caught fire in March, a week after a failed arson attempt at the same address.
“We’re thrilled to death that we got this person off the street,” Dion said. “We want to put the people of Central Falls at ease that we don’t have an arsonist randomly setting houses on fire in our city.”
No one was injured in any of the fires.
The first Providence blaze started Tuesday at about 1:35 a.m., and the second was set on Wednesday at about 2 a.m., investigators said. A resident called police after the second fire and told authorities “it happened again,” police said. The fires charred a rear door and damaged a porch, Providence Police Maj. Thomas Oates said. The Centrals Falls fire started at about 2:32 a.m. on Wednesday, Dion said.
Oates said police alerted Pawtucket officers, who were dispatched to Vilorio’s home. Vilorio returned home a short time later, and was detained by authorities. Police said Vilorio’s clothing was soaked in gasoline when he was arrested.
“It’s a boyfriend-girlfriend thing, him trying to scare the new boyfriend away from the old girlfriend,” Oates said.
Dion said the suspicious fires began in Central Falls on Feb. 26, when someone tried to set fire to a rear porch at the home Vilorio’s ex-girlfriend. That fire didn’t catch, but Dion said a second fire lit on March 6 did ignite. The blaze forced out five people and completely gutted the building. He said the home remains boarded up.
The fire on Wednesday at the home of the ex-girlfriend’s sister caused $25,000 worth of damage, Dion said. He said eight people were driven out, but they can return home. Vilorio’s ex-girlfriend was not at her sister’s home at the time of the fire, but she does visit and has stayed overnight in the past, Dion said.
A telephone number listed for Vilorio’s home was disconnected. It was not clear whether he has a lawyer.
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