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Man charged with arson following Great Barrington blaze

July 22, 2021 GMT

GREAT BARRINGTON, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts man is facing charges of arson and insurance fraud in connection with a fire that consumed a building he owned in Great Barrington.

The building held apartments and a retail shop but was vacant when it went up in flames July 7. Firefighters from three area departments worked to extinguish the blaze.

Great Barrington Police Chief Paul Storti said Thursday that authorities arrested local resident Harry Sano in connection with the incident. Authorities allege the 85-year-old Sano intentionally started the fire and then filed an insurance claim for the damage.

Storti said that even though the building was empty, the fire posed a danger to firefighters as well as nearby residents.

Local police and fire agencies investigated the fire with assistance from the State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit assigned to the state fire marshal.

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Sano was released pending his arraignment, which is scheduled for Monday in Southern Berkshire District Court.

Attempts to reach Sano on Thursday were unsuccessful. Two phone numbers listed in Sano’s name are disconnected, and it was unclear Thursday whether he is represented by an attorney.