NEW BEDFORD (WBZ) ― A police officer risked his life to save three people from a fire in New Bedford. An unregistered sex offender is now charged with attempted murder and arson.
Authorities say it all started Thursday when Mario Fontes Tome, a level 2 sex offender, returned to his old apartment on Warren Street to pick up his cat.
Tome, 58, needed a police escort to get into the apartment, because the owners - his sister and brother-in-law - had a restraining order against him and forced him to move out.
Tome told Officer Patrick Reedy he wasn't going to be able to bring his cat with him to his new home - so Reedy worked out a deal for the cat, while Tome went upstairs to his apartment.
Investigators now say that was a ruse, because Tome locked himself in the apartment and set it on fire.
Reedy rushed in to get him out, but couldn't find him in the burning apartment.
On his way downstairs, the officer rescued three other tenants.
Tome was found a short time later in the backseat of Reedy's cruiser, waiting for the officer so he could surrender.
Tome will be arraigned Friday in New Bedford District Court on several charges, including six counts of attempted murder, arson, and failing to register as a sex offender.
Three New Bedford firefighters were hurt in the fire.