Resident suspected of setting suspicious fires at Taunton apartment complex

TAUNTON, Mass. (WPRI) — Residents of a Taunton apartment complex say there is a firebug on the loose.

According to residents at John Shea Court, they are living in fear following four suspicious fires in the past month. Police now say arson could be to blame for the string on fires.

One resident said she has been sleeping on her couch to make sure she can hear the fire alarms if they go off.

The first two fires happened inside the community room at the complex.

“I walked in and I turned a corner to go to the mailboxes and I noticed there was a fire,” said Michael Dunphe.

Then, an outdoor curtain in a window caught fire following an argument between a resident and another elderly tenant who is now the only suspect.

“I saw her with my own eyes in the action,” said Beverly Sousa.

Sousa said she witnesses the woman setting the fourth fire on a stairway.

“She was bending over and she was making these grunting sounds,” she said.

Police were installing surveillance cameras at the same time of the fire.

The suspect was taken for an evaluation, but she returned to the complex the next day.

“We really would prefer this person not [be] on the property any longer,” Sousa said.

Police said they have found evidence they’re trying to tie to the suspect and they hope to get her help.

“We agree with the residents, we feel that it is suspicious,” said Colleen Doherty, executive director of Taunton Housing Authority. “If it happens to be a resident who gets charged, the housing authority will, of course, pursue an eviction proceeding.”

According to Doherty, the housing authority has hired security to patrol the complex while police investigate.

Police said that until they have sufficient evidence to charge the woman, she will remain at her apartment.

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