Man accused of setting girlfriend’s apartment on fire

Derrick Person (Mugshot: New Bedford Police)

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) — A Central Falls man was arrested Friday on charges he assaulted his girlfriend and set her apartment on fire.

Police and fire personnel responded to 121 Garfield Street at about 8:30 p.m. and arrived to find flames coming from the rear of an apartment on the first floor. Firefighters began battling the fire as the tenants of the six-unit building were evacuated.

While speaking with eyewitnesses on scene, investigators learned the fire was started by the boyfriend of the first floor tenant, identified as Derrick Person.

Police said Person was reportedly in an argument with his girlfriend when he piled up her clothes outside the building and set them on fire. When she confronted him, Person allegedly grabbed his girlfriend by the throat and pushed her to the ground. He then went into the apartment, and a short time later flames began to show from the bedroom area, according to police.

Person, 43, was found by police in a nearby yard and taken into custody.

Crews were able to put out the fire before it spread to the other apartments, however tenants of three apartments were displaced for the night and received aid from family and the Red Cross.

Person was arraigned Monday on charges of first-degree domestic arson and domestic simple assault. He was ordered held without bail until a hearing September 9.

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