A 19-year-old Beverly man has pleaded not guilty to setting a Sunday night fire that destroyed two houses under construction and damaged eight occupied homes.
Zackary Pavia was arraigned Thursday in Salem District Court on 10 counts of arson and other charges including trespassing. He is held until a dangerousness hearing July 25.
Prosecutor Heidi Sylvanowicz said Pavia and two younger teens got into the empty, unfinished Beverly house and smoked marijuana, then Pavia returned with a blow torch and set the fire. He allegedly watched the blaze and laughed about it. The 15-year-old and 17-year-old will be summoned to court on juvenile accessory and trespassing charges.
The fire spread to another unfinished house, and damaged other occupied houses on the same cul-de-sac. No one was injured.
The state Fire Marshal estimated damage at $2 million.