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Brookline Police charge man hospitalized with burns with arson

Posted by Brock Parker  August 1, 2013 06:41 PM

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A Boston man hospitalized with burns was charged with arson Thursday in the blaze that destroyed a Brookline home Friday.

From his hospital bed at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Thursday, Steven J. McCann, 29, of Jamaica Plain, pleaded not guilty to two arson charges and one charge of burning a building to defraud an insurer.

McCann is being treated at the hospital for injuries police believe he sustained while setting fire to a vacant home at 71 Spooner Road in Brookline Friday night. A man was seen running, and crying, from the area that night.

Brookline Police Chief Daniel O’Leary said authorities believe an incendiary was used, but they are still investigating why McCann may have set the building ablaze. The property has been tied up in lawsuits in recent years, but O’Leary said McCann is not the owner.

O’Leary said detectives were led to McCann through a series of events, including a phone call to police shortly before the three-alarm fire was reported Friday around 9.m. The caller, who lived on Middlesex Road, which is near Spooner Road, reported seeing a shirtless man running through the area crying.

The crying man stopped and asked where he could get some water and then he left, O’Leary said.

The neighbor on Middlesex Road then called police to check on the man’s wellbeing, and shortly after police responded to the area a call came in about smoke in the area. The fire was then discovered at the house on Spooner Road, O’Leary said.

Within 45 minutes, O’Leary said Boston Police contacted Brookline Police that they were responding to a report of a man on Perkins Street in Jamaica Plain for a man who was badly burned.

Officers from both police departments responded to the location, and McCann was taken to the hospital for what O’Leary said were considerable burns on his body.

O’Leary said evidence discovered by police in the course of several searches, including a search of McCann’s home, led to police obtaining a warrant for McCann’s arrest Thursday.

After pleading not guilty to the charges, McCann was ordered to be held on $30,000 cash bail, said Mike Connolly, a spokesman for the Norfolk County District Attorney’s Office. If McCann makes bail, he will be monitored by a GPS tracker, has been ordered to stay away from the area of the fire and has been ordered not to leave the state, Connolly said.

O’Leary said police are still investigating what accelerant was used to light the fire, but he said detectives do have enough evidence to eventually to determine what it was.

According to town records, the home was partially constructed in 2005, but was never occupied and was facing a demolition order by the town. The building is owned by 81 Spooner Road, LLC, according to Brookline Assessor records, and the structure was considered illegal because it did not meet local zoning requirements.

--Brock Parker can be reached at brock.globe@gmail.com

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