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West Bridgewater fire suspects reportedly linked to 23 other Mass. fires

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WEST BRIDGEWATER (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – The two Middleboro men charged with setting fire to a commercial building in West Bridgewater on Wednesday night are suspected in 23 other fires that have recently occurred in Massachusetts.

Mark Sargent, 45, and Jeanmarie Louis, 23, were arraigned in Brockton Thursday on charges of burning a building and attempting to burn a public building for the West Bridgewater fire.

The Assistant District Attorney in Plymouth County said during a press conference Thursday afternoon that the men could face additional charges for 23 other suspicious fires that have occurred in Barnstable, Norfolk, Yarmouth, and Bristol Counties starting in Sept. of 2011.

Police say Wednesday's fire happened at a commercial building, which is under construction, at 457 South Main St. in West Bridgewater. According to police, it was a minor fire which was quickly knocked down. No one was injured.

State arson investigators said they had a GPS device on Sargent's car because he was a suspect in several area arson fires. They noticed the vehicle passing by the scene several times before the fire and stopped at the scene for about 11 minutes.

Later, when police pulled Sargent over, his passenger, Louis, was wearing a dark hoodie as witnesses described and also had gloves in his sweatshirt pocket that smelled like gasoline, according to officials.

Investigators said the West Bridgewater fire was set similarly to the 23 other fires. A Duraflame log was placed at the base of a wall and gasoline was sprayed higher up on the wall to allow for the suspects to get away.

Almost all of the 24 fires that were started were set in vacant and abandoned buildings. Six firefighters suffered minor injuries in the fires.

The defendants are being held without bail pending the outcome of a dangerousness hearing.

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