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Accused of trying to burn down a Pittsfield home, woman held pending dangerousness hearing

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Pittsfield police cruiser (copy) (copy)

Pittfield Police on Sunday arrested a woman on a single count of attempted arson after she allegedly tried to set fire to a building that she owns on Third Street.

PITTSFIELD — A woman who allegedly tried to torch a city home that she owned was ordered held without bail on Tuesday pending a dangerousness hearing.

Bernadette M. Webb, 45, of Howard Street in Pittsfield, is accused of dumping gasoline inside 32 Third St. on Sunday evening and has been charged with attempting to set the dwelling on fire, according to a report filed by Pittsfield Police Officer Neil Goodrich.

About 5:45 p.m. Sunday, police responded to a report about an arson in progress. The call came from a number associated with Webb’s boyfriend.

Webb, who owns the building, according to property records, was outside when the officer arrived. Webb told Goodrich her boyfriend had left the residence, something she seemed upset about.

Authorities found ashes and a charred paper towel on the second floor, and a 5-gallon gas can, which was missing its spout, in the backyard, the report said. Webb denied going to the second floor.

The spout from a gas can was outside nearby, according to the report, and Goodrich said there was an “overwhelming” smell of gasoline coming from the open doors and windows to the home. The officer also said Webb was carrying a lighter in her pocket.

Webb told authorities that she’d filled up the gas can at Cumberland Farms, and had accidently spilled some gasoline in multiple locations of the home.

Goodrich said in his report that there was a “substantial” amount of gas on the floor of a several different rooms on both the first and second floor of the home, which did not appear to be the result of spillage.

A witness who reached out to police told authorities that he’d seen Webb crying and pouring gasoline onto brush out front of the home, according to the report. The witness said Webb told him, “Don’t f- — with me; you know I’d do this. ... It’s going up this time.”

There was an ”intentionally set” fire involving a possible accelerant that smelled like gasoline at the same address — 32 Third St. — in 2009.

Webb pleaded not guilty in Central Berkshire District Court on Tuesday to a single count of attempted arson of a dwelling. Judge Mark Pasquariello ordered Webb held without bail pending a Friday dangerousness hearing.

Amanda Burke can be reached at aburke@berkshireeagle.com or 413-496-6296.

Cops and Courts Reporter

Amanda Burke is Cops and Courts Reporter for The Berkshire Eagle. An Ithaca, New York native, she previously worked at The Herald News of Fall River and the Fitchburg Sentinel & Enterprise.

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