Hinsdale man who set city fires free after serving 304 days


PITTSFIELD >> A Hinsdale man who admitted to setting a string of fires last year has been released after pleading guilty to arson charges and being sentenced to time served.

Jeffrey Benoit, 26, has been held in the Berkshire County Jail and House of Correction since his arrest last December.

Benoit started a fire inside the hallway of a Perrine Avenue apartment on Dec. 1 after he had become intoxicated and forced to leave a party there.

Witnesses told police that Benoit had returned to the apartment several times throughout the night, and a few minutes after his final attempt to return to the party was denied, smoke alarms rang and a nearby carpeted stairway was found to be on fire.

Several other fires were reported in the area, including in two trash cans on Plunkett Street, a pile of leaves on Kellogg Street, and a parked car and boat also on Kellogg Street, according to prosecutors.

Police tracked down Benoit and arrested him later that night.

He pleaded guilty in Berkshire Superior Court on Thursday to two counts of arson of a dwelling house, one count of burning property and one count burning a motor vehicle.

Judge John Agostini sentenced him to serve 304 days — the time he has spent in jail — of a two-year sentence and two years' probation.

Contact Adam Shanks at 413-496-6376.


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