• Fire officials outraged at arsonist's plea deal


    BROCKTON, Mass. (MyFoxBoston.com) -- Fire officials appeared in court Friday to protest the three-year sentence given to an accused serial arsonist.

    Mark Sargent, 46, was charged with six-counts of burning personal property, burning a building, and arson. He was sentenced to a maximum of three years in court Friday.

    Investigators accuse the 46-year-old of setting fires in Scituate, Marshfield and West Bridgewater.

    Outside court Friday, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy Cruz stood by his recommendation for an eight to 12-year sentence for Sargent, not the three years recommended by the judge.

    "They are dangerous. They put people's lives at risk and I think they needed to do more time than that," Cruz said.

    Earlier this week, State Fire Marshal Stephen Coan expressed his anger over the deal offered to Sargent.

    "Arson is not a victimless crime and a series of arsons creates an understandable fear that robs people of feeling secure in their own homes where they should feel safest," said Coan. "Arson fires take a toll on our firefighters and are the type of fires that cause the most firefighter injuries. Arson fires tear at the very fabric of a community burdening public safety resources, affecting tax revenues, jobs and creating blight."

    Ralph Pratt's boat was burned, and he doesn't believe that the sentence was harsh enough.

    "I'm extremely disappointed with the sentence it just doesn't seem like it fits the crime," Pratt said.

    The state alleges Sargent and his girlfriend's son, JeanMarie Louis, are responsible for 30 arson fires, all with the same method: a Duraflame log and gasoline. They have yet to charge them with more than three.

    Louis was charged with one-count of burning a building in West Bridgewater. He was sentenced to a maximum of two and a half years in prison.

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