Homeless man arrested for allegedly setting fire at Athol church

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Staff Writer
Published: 10/20/2019 12:49:24 PM

ATHOL — It was obvious to investigators that a late night church fire was intentionally set, and they’ve now arrested a man and charged him with arson. 

Trevor J. DeFrancesco, 21, “currently without residence,” was arrested Saturday for allegedly setting the fire at Our Lady Immaculate Church, 192 School St., according to the State Fire Marshal’s Office.

DeFrancesco has been charged with “burning a building and breaking and entering in the nighttime with the intent to commit a felony,” according to the State Fire Marshal, and is being held on $20,000 bail at the Franklin County House of Correction pending arraignment on Monday. 

The fire occurred shortly after midnight — in the early morning Saturday — in the basement of the church. Investigators determined there were “multiple points of origin” for the fire, leading them to believe it was an intentional act. 

According to the State Fire Marshal, the building sustained “moderate” damage, but firefighters were able to control the fire using extinguishers. In addition to “smoke and water damage,” a water pipe was broken, but ended up helping to control the fire. 

The fire was investigated jointly by the Athol Police Department, Athol Fire Department and Massachusetts State Police assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s Office. 

The case against DeFrancesco will be prosecuted by the Northwestern District Attorney’s Office. 

Reach David McLellan at dmclellan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 268. 




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