FALL RIVER, Mass. (WPRI) — Police arrested a Fall River man after investigators determined he was responsible for a fire that erupted inside the stairwell of an apartment building Wednesday evening.
Jeremy Perreira, 42, was taken into custody Thursday and charged with arson, according to police.
Firefighters rushed to the Globe Street triple-decker for reports of a stroller on fire, according to Acting District Fire Chief David Jennings.
Jennings said the firefighters arrived to find flames shooting from the windows, as well as a woman and a young child trapped on the fire escape. He believes the tenants were forced to evacuate to the roof because the fire was blocking the stairwell.
The woman and child were brought to safety while firefighters knocked down the flames in the stairwell. Both were transported to a nearby hospital for treatment.
Another woman who lives on the third floor said she and her young daughter were both sound asleep, but woke up once the fire alarm started going off.
That’s when she opened her apartment door and saw her stroller on fire in the hallway.
“I grabbed my daughter and ran out of the building,” she recalled. “I looked back behind me and [the flames were] already up to the ceiling.”
The woman told 12 News she’s unsure how her stroller ended up in the hallway, adding that she was waiting for her parents to return it to her.
Jennings said the building isn’t a total loss, though two of the units sustained smoke damage. He said the building should be inhabitable within the next day or so.
But the woman claims her apartment was destroyed.
“I can’t fathom this,” she said through tears. “It’s demolished … Everything is gone.”
The woman and her daughter will spend the next few days at a nearby hotel, but she’s not sure whether her apartment will be inhabitable by the time she checks out.
“What happens now? I have no idea,” she said. “I don’t know what to do.”
Perreira was also charged with possession of a stun gun.