A 19-year-old Beverly man was ordered held without bail pending a Salem District Court dangerousness hearing, where he faced 10 counts of arson for allegedly setting fires that destroyed two homes under construction, damaged eight occupied homes, and destroyed a motor vehicle Sunday night in the North Shore city.
Zackary H. Pavia appeared in the Salem courthouse on the arson charges and 13 counts of destruction of property over $250, along with charges of breaking and entering in the nighttime, and trespassing, according to Essex District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett’s office.
At the request of prosecutors, Judge Matthew Machera ordered Pavia held without bail until the July 25 dangerousness hearing.
Two juveniles are also facing charges, but not arson, according to State Fire Marshal Stephen D. Coan’s office.
Pavia is a Crescent Avenue resident, officials said.
According to prosecutors, Pavia and the two juveniles smoked marijuana inside a house being built at 36 Folger Ave. The teens left the building, but Pavia was allegedly seen returning to the structure carrying a blow torch, prosecutors said.
The juveniles, whose names were not released because of their age, will be summonsed to court to face one count each of accessory before the fact, breaking and entering in the nighttime with the intent to commit a felony, and trespassing.
According to Coan’s office, the fire was started in a single-family home under construction. It spread to a second house being built and then damaged eight occupied homes, all located on Folger Avenue. A vehicle was destroyed.
Damage was estimated at $2 million, officials said.
In a statement, Beverly Mayor Michael Cahill expressed his thanks for the quick resolution to the case, and applauded first responders for making sure no one was harmed despite the extent of the fire.
“This significant fire had the potential to be far worse,’’ he said in the statement. “The brave actions of our first responders saved lives and prevented much greater loss of property. Our community is truly grateful for their professionalism and their commitment to serving us all.’’