Three Juveniles Sentenced for Setting Fire at MCDI Building
State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey, Springfield Fire Commissioner Joseph Conant and Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni announced that three juveniles have been sentenced for setting fire on June 27, 2016 to the vacant Massachusetts Career Development Institute (MCDI) building at 140 Wilbraham Avenue in Springfield. The fire consumed the building and fire suppression efforts continued for over 24 hours. The estimated loss is over $500,000. Five firefighters were injured.
Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni stated, “I would like to thank the heroic men and women of the Springfield Fire Department for their work in suppressing this fire. Because of the thorough and professional investigation by the Springfield Fire Department and the Massachusetts State Fire Marshal’s Office, and the Massachusetts State Police assigned to it, we had a strong case to bring forward for a successful prosecution.”
Two of the juveniles previously pled guilty and are in juvenile detention. The third individual plead guilty as was sentenced as an adult to 2-1/2 years in the house of correction on January 26, 2017. The three young men were charged with breaking and entering into the MCDI building and a nearby business, as well as setting the fire.
Springfield Fire Commissioner Joseph Conant said, “I want to thank the investigative team for their hard work to bring a solid case to the district attorney for a successful prosecution. All fires are dangerous for our firefighters, but this one was particularly dangerous because of the size and condition of this building. Five firefighters were injured at this incident, with one still out of work and recovering at this time. The outcome was a success due to the exceptional work of all the Springfield Fire Department members on scene and the expertise of the troopers assigned to the State Fire Marshal’s Office.”
The investigation determined that the fire had been intentionally set in a pile of carpet squares and other debris on the second floor. Evidence indicates the fire smoldered for a considerable period of time eventually before erupting into flames.
“It’s important for the public to know that we relentlessly pursue those who commit the crime of arson with our local fire and police partners to bring strong cases to prosecutors so they can win justice for the community,” said State Fire Marshal Ostroskey. “Arson fires are never victimless crimes. Tax revenues, business opportunities, and the entire sense of community are damaged,” he added, “As this case indicates, vacant building fires are one of the most dangerous types of fires for firefighters.” One firefighter is injured at every seven vacant building fires, compared with one injury at every 44 structure fires, according to the Massachusetts Fire Incident Reporting System (MFIRS).
The fire was jointly investigated by members of the Springfield Fire Department and State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal. The case was successfully prosecuted by Hampden District Attorney Anthony D. Gulluni’s office.