Westfield man arraigned for starting fire in multi-family home - CBS 3 Springfield - WSHM

Westfield man arraigned for starting fire in multi-family home

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Christopher Perrier Christopher Perrier

A 23-year-old Westfield man has been arraigned on charges he allegedly started a fire at a multi-family home in Westfield.

Police arrested Christopher Perrier, 23, of Westfield hours after a fire that started in a basement laundry room destroyed his apartment at 12 Franklin Ave.

In court Friday afternoon, a not guilty plea was entered on Perrier's behalf.

Prosecutors say Perrier admitted to taking lint out of the dryer's lint trap, placing it into a basket near the dryer, and throwing a lit match alongside the basket. They say as the fire grew larger, Perrier allegedly tried putting it out himself prior to calling 911.

Perrier's attorney says his client has learning disabilities and mental problems that caused him to say whatever was necessary to let him out of police custody.

A joint investigation by the state Fire Marshal's office and the Westfield Fire Department confirmed that the fire started outside of the dryer.

Speaking after the arraignment, Perrier's mother said she knows her son didn't start the fire.

"All I have to say is I'm his mother and he is the most honest boy in the world. He would never hurt his family," said Perrier's mother.

In an interview with CBS 3 Thursday, Perrier claimed he noticed the fire after going to the basement to check on his laundry.

[Watch: Raw interview with Christopher Perrier]

"By the time the fire department got here, pretty much the whole basement was on fire. All my stuff, my whole apartment got lost," Perrier told CBS 3.

Perrier has been ordered to stay away from the rental property and his landlord. He is being held on $1,000 bail and will be back in court on February 24.

More than a dozen people were left homeless after the blaze. Two residents trapped inside the home were treated for smoke inhalation at Noble Hospital.

The Red Cross is assisting victims with shelter and clothing.

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