NEW BEDFORD — An arrest has been made in two fires set earlier this week in New Bedford.

30-year-old Jose DeBritto of New Bedford was arrested Thursday night and charged with setting two fires Wednesday night and Thursday morning in the city. The arrest was announced by State Fire Marshal Peter J. Ostroskey, Bristol County District Attorney Thomas M. Quinn, New Bedford Police Chief Joseph Cordeiro and New Bedford Fire Chief Michael Gomes.

"I want to commend the team for quickly determining the causes of these fires and making this arrest," State Fire Marshal Ostroskey said. "Arson understandably creates anxiety in a neighborhood and an arrest is the quickest way to resolve that."

DeBritto is charged with setting fire to a two-family home at 149 Myrtle Street on Wednesday night that displaced two people, as well as another fire to a two-story home at 245 State Street in the early hours of Thursday morning.

DeBritto was arraigned Friday morning in New Bedford District Court. The DA's Office requested a dangerousness hearing at his arraignment, and DeBritto was ordered held without bail. That hearing has been scheduled for October 19.

The investigation into these two fires and additional fires in the neighborhood is being jointly conducted by the New Bedford Fire and Police Departments and State Police assigned to the Office of the State Fire Marshal. The investigation is ongoing.

“I am continually impressed by the quality of investigators and high level collaboration with our law enforcement and fire investigating partners. I am grateful for their dedication in this case bringing closure and comfort to the residents in the North End District," Police Chief Cordeiro said. "I appreciate the community involvement and the investigators relentless pursuit of the culprit raising havoc in our community.”

“These fires were in occupied buildings, which is very troubling and could easily have ended in tragedy," Fire Chief Gomes said.

Mayor Jon Mitchell is praising the work of his chiefs following DeBritto's arrest.

"I'm proud of the hard work of New Bedford police, who together with the state fire marshal's office completed a thorough investigation and apprehended an individual that put families in danger," Mayor Mitchell said.

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