Blackstone Valley

Chief: Video crucial in Central Falls arson arrest

CENTRAL FALLS, R.I. (WPRI) -- Weeks after three Central Falls police officers rescued seven people from a fire, police announced they have arrested someone in connection with the arson investigation.

According to a release from Central Fall police, Phillip Parrott, 56, of Central Falls confessed to starting the fire at 137 Earle Street on Jan. 28.

The chief of police, Col. James J. Mendonca, told Eyewitness News Parrott was arraigned at Providence District Court Friday afternoon on a charge of first-degree arson. He was ordered held at the ACI as a Superior Court violator.

Two days after the fire, investigators released surveillance footage showing a man in a winter coat and hat walking down Earle Street in Central Falls around the same time a home there caught fire.

The chief said that video was instrumental in Parrott's arrest.

"One of the police officers involved in the rescue - Officer Bari Cameron - was able to identify our suspect from the video obtained by Central Falls police detectives. It was with that information that detectives, along with the Rhode Island Fire Marshal investigators, were able to bring Phillip Parrott in for questioning and subsequently obtain a confession from," Mendonca.

Mendonca said there was no apparent motive in the case thus far.

Police said seven people, including a child, were asleep inside the home when the fire started.

Three Central Falls police officers were credited with saving the occupants' lives.

"If it wasn't for their quick response, not only would those seven people would have perished, but [the officers] themselves would have been overcome by the smoke and may have perished as well," Mendonca said after the fire.

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