PLAINVILLE - A Terryville man was arrested Thursday and charged with setting a Plainville house on fire in 2016.
Pietro Marcuccio, 53, faces charges of first-degree arson and insurance fraud.
According to the arrest warrant, Plainville firefighters responded to a house fire on Oct. 2, 2016, at about 4:15 p.m., at 66 Russell Ave. A neighbor who noticed the fire dialed 911. The home sustained heavy damage.
Fire officials determined that the fire was suspicious, as it had two areas of origin and an irregular burn pattern, according to the warrant. Firefighters ultimately ruled out all possible ignition sources and determined that the fire had been set.
The homeowner, Marcuccio, told officials he was not home when the fire started. He said he had been doing work on the house, as a family member had stayed there and made a “mess” of the house, and had left at about 3:30 p.m., the warrant said.
Marcuccio said he was in the process of fixing it and was not living there.
When asked how the fire would jump from one are of the home to another, without burning anything in between, Marcuccio said, “Fire is a strange thing. It’s alive,” adding that fire can jump from spot to spot, according to the warrant.
He also told police and fire officials that his wife had taken a $500,000 insurance policy out on the house, but when police spoke to his wife, she said it was only insured for $125,000.
According to the warrant, insurance was taken out 11 days before the fire. Marcuccio’s wife said the policy was taken out because of the family member who was living in the house, whom she described as a “liability,” the warrant said.
In March, Marcuccio’s wife withdrew her insurance claim, and Marcuccio did the same in April, according to the warrant.
Furthermore, the warrant said, several people went to police during the investigation and told officers Marcuccio had admitted to starting the fire by using a torch on some lint that had gathered in a ceiling fan light.
Marcuccio was arraigned Friday in Bristol Superior Court, where officials said he is on probation after he was arrested in Florida for threatening to kill. His bail was set at $500,000.
Ronald Dearstyne, the state prosecutor, says the state has a “strong case.” He added that prison time would likely be sought.
The case has been transferred to New Britain Superior Court.