Garbage Can Fire Near Davis Square Gets Man Arrested, Other Fires Under Investigation

It's not known if a series of garbage can fires that took place in West Somerville this spring is connected to a Aug. 7 garbage can fire on Windom Street.

Somerville police suspect a New York man may have been involved with lighting a fire in a garbage can outside 24 Windom St., near Davis Square, on Aug. 7.

Meanwhile, police are also investigating a series of garbage can fires that took place this spring near the Clarendon Hill bus stop in West Somerville, according to Deputy Chief Paul Upton of the Somerville Police Department.

That investigation is still ongoing, said Upton, and it's not known if the Clarendon Hill fires and Windom Street incident are connected.

Upton said the series of Clarendon Hill garbage can fires—approximately five of them—took place in late May and the first few weeks of June, but they seemed to have stopped since then.

Aug. 7 Windom Street fire

The Windom Street fire happened shortly before 2:40 a.m. on Aug. 7.

According to a police report, an officer responding to the fire was parking his cruiser in the parking lot behind , near the fire, when he saw a man running quickly through the parking lot.

The officer stopped the man, identified as Arjun Kataria, 27, of New York, to ask if he knew anything about the fire and inquire why he was seemingly running away from it, the report says.

According to the report, Kataria told the officer a friend had started the fire.

Kataria gave the officer a false name and age, the report says, and he told the officer his friend had started the fire by throwing a cigarette into the trash can.

Police searched Kataria's shoulder bag and discovered documents with his real name and age, according to the report.

The report says Kataria told police he and his friend had watched the trash can fire for about 45 minutes to make sure it didn't burn out of control and that he hadn't called to report the fire because his cell phone battery was dead.

Kataria had a flask filled with bourbon, according to the report. 

He was arrested and charged with possessing an open container, disorderly conduct and  misleading a police officer.

When police searched him further, they found three fire crackers in his pocket and another fire cracker in his shoulder bag, the report says.

He was also charged with burning personal property.

Upton said the May and June fires in Clarendon Hill are still part of an open and active investigation.

Please note that allegations contained in police reports do not indicate a conviction.


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