FOSTER, R.I. (WPRI) — Police have charged a man with arson after the Foster home where he once lived went up in flames last week.
Court documents reveal Lawrence Lopez, 62, was being evicted from the Johnson Road home and had been ordered to leave by April 1.
But instead of leaving, Lopez reportedly set fire to not only the home, but also a barn in the backyard.
Lopez has since been charged with first-degree arson and was ordered held without bail during his arraignment Monday.
In court, prosecutors said Lopez was the only one home at the time of the fire.
“He admitted to pouring gasoline and using a propane torch to light both the outbuilding and the home on fire,” Assistant Attorney General Laura Nicholson said.
While the home sustained fire, smoke and heat damage, it is still standing, according to Deputy Fire Marshal James Given. The barn in the backyard, which had a Corvette inside, was destroyed and deemed a total loss.
Nicholson said when firefighters arrived, they found Lopez inside a car in the garage.
“At first, he refused to exit the vehicle, but did make excited utterances such as ‘don’t go in the house, I poured gasoline on it, I’m sorry,'” Nicholson said.
Lopez was apparently angry that he was being evicted from his late mother’s estate, and that his request to stay was denied, according to court documents.
The fire remains under investigation at this time. Given said no one was injured.