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Third Person Pleads Guilty To Role In Hanson Arson Fire

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Contact: Beth Stone 508-584-8120

BROCKTON – An 81 year-old man has pleaded guilty to charges that he and two other people set fire to an abandoned restaurant in Hanson which left two firefighters injured, Plymouth County District Attorney Timothy J. Cruz has announced.

Today in Plymouth Superior Court, Alfred C. Russo, 81, of Bourne, pleaded guilty to one count of Burning of a Dwelling and two counts of Arson Causing Injuries to a Firefighter. The Commonwealth requested that Russo be sentenced to 2 ½ years in the House of Corrections with 18 months to be served. Judge Mark Hallal sentenced Russo to four years of probation to be served under house arrest wearing a GPS monitoring bracelet.         

On July 6, 2018 at approximately 2:54 pm, Hanson Fire Department received a report of a fire at JJ’s Pub, an abandoned commercial property at 16 Liberty Street. Upon arrival, firefighters discovered the interior of the structure to be fully engulfed in fire. The blaze required a third alarm response, and took some time to extinguish due to the full involvement of the structure. Two Hanson firefighters sustained heat exhaustion injuries battling the blaze, and the building was deemed a total loss as a result of this fire.   

Massachusetts State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Section and Hanson Police and Fire Department determined that the cause was ruled incendiary and an investigation commenced. As a result of the investigation, Hanson Police obtained a criminal complaint charging Russo. Russo served as a member of the Boston Fire Department from 1969-1995, when he retired as a firefighter assigned to the Marine Unit. 

Investigators determined that Patricia Harrison, 63, was the owner of the abandoned property and Wayne Cummings, 52, was an acquaintance of Harrison’s. The investigation found that Harrison, along with Cummings enlisted the aid of Russo to set fire to the pub. On the day of the fire, Cummings provided Russo with the key to the restaurant, along with a blow torch. Russo entered the pub and dragged a rubber tire into the establishment and placed the lit blow torch in the middle of the tire. On the day after the fire, Harrison filed a $415,000 insurance claim with her provider.

On April 4, 2022, Harrison, and Cummings pleaded guilty and were sentenced to probation for two years. 

Assistant District Attorney Alex Zane prosecuted the case, which was investigated by Hanson Police, Hanson Fire, and the Massachusetts State Police Fire and Explosion Investigation Section.

January 13, 2023