PITTSFIELD -- A man who set fire to the city rooming house where he lived had his case continued without a finding for a year.

According to the Pittsfield Police, 40-year-old Brian R. Zerbato set fire to his room inside a boarding house at 82 W. Housatonic St. on Oct. 9, 2009. City firefighters had to make their ways into a smoke-filled building to fight the blaze on the building's third floor. The fire forced 20 residents to seek temporary shelter.

The room's contents were destroyed and the unit gutted, according to Eagle records. No injuries were reported in connection with the blaze.

Zerbato was charged with arson of a dwelling house. In March 2011, he was found to be incompetent to stand trial and ordered committed to Worcester State Hospital.

According to Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Gregory Barry, Zerbato remained incompetent to stand trial for several years. He has since been deemed competent and is still voluntarily in an in-treatment facility in Springfield.

On Monday in Berkshire Superior Court, Barry and Zerbato's attorney, Jill Sheldon, asked the court to continue the defendant's case without a finding for one year with a number of conditions. Zerbato must take his medications, undergo a fire setting evaluation and remain in an in-treatment facility until doctors determine he can be released. After his release, he must follow a discharge plan set up by the state Department of Mental Health.

If Zerbato fails to comply with the conditions, the prosecution can ask to have the case put back on the trial list.

Sheldon told the court that her client is aware if he doesn't do what is required of him, he could end up in jail.

To reach Andrew Amelinckx:
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