Phillip Jordan was arraigned in Vermont on Monday afternoon on a fugitive from justice charge and is being held on $25,000 bail. A not-guilty plea was entered on his behalf and his case was continued pending an examination to determine his competency to participate in court proceedings regarding his fugitive status.
Jordan is facing three counts of burning a dwelling house in connection with fires at homes on Appleton Avenue, Ridge Avenue and Fort Hill Avenue in Pittsfield on Saturday. The investigation is continuing and more charges may be pending.
Update: Sunday, September 23, 2018 at 5:07 p.m.
Pittsfield Police say Phillip Jordan was apprehended at the Canadian border by U.S. Customs and Border Patrol agents at the Highgate Port of Entry in Highgate Springs, Vt. without incident. The district attorney's office is assisting in the extradition back to Massachusetts.
Police are seeking any information on the whereabouts of Phillip Jordan. Jordan is considered armed and dangerous.
Original Post: Saturday, September 22, 2018.
PITTSFIELD, Mass. — Authorities say incendiary devices were used Saturday night to start fires in four separate locations in the city all at about the same time.
"We had four fires simultaneously in the community," said Fire Chief Robert Czerwinski at the scene of the worst of the incidents on Appleton Avenue.
"We believe they are all related at this time. The Police Department is searching for a suspect right now that we believe is responsible for this."
Police released a Code Red notification shortly after 9 p.m. seeking information on the whereabouts of 58-year-old Phillip Jordan.
He is believed to have intentionally lit the fires. Jordan was operating a blue Subaru Legacy with license plate number 7LJA90.
Jordan is described as a white man with long salt and pepper hair, standing 5-feet 7-inches tall, and weighing 135 pounds.
He is considered armed and dangerous and police say he should not be approached.
Police are asking anyone with information about his whereabouts to contact the department.
A Phillip Jordan is also listed in the Registry of Deeds as the owner of 112 Appleton Ave., where the first of the fires was reported at 6:42 p.m. That fire was still going strong more than two hours later. A second fire was reported at Fort Hill Avenue, a third at Ridge Avenue and then a fourth on Brown Street.
"This is the worst of them," the fire chief said as crews continued to fight the blaze in the two-story home on Appleton. "They're heavily involved in defensive operations ... it was in the basement and went through the entire building."
No one was home at the Appleton residence but the occupants of the other three homes were able to put out the fires before firefighters arrived.
"They were all single-family homes," Czerwinski said. "It appears to be some kind of incendiary device at all four houses."
Firefighters and equipment from Richmond, Lanesborough, Lenox and Dalton were called in to help respond the blazes and cover the station. Fire investigators with the department were already working at the three smaller fires and arson investigators were on their way.
Meanwhile, throughout the evening police had officers scouring the area looking for Jordan.
Firefighters extinguished the Appleton blaze and were packing up to leave the scene at about 10:30 p.m. That was when fire investigators began working the scene.
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