Dartmouth Fire Sparks State Police Chase of Armed Fugitive
Update: The suspect has been identified as 36-year-old Dartmouth resident Ian Grant. Read the full story.
Update: 2:16 p.m. — The suspect, stopped in Connecticut, is in custody, according to Massachusetts State Police.
DARTMOUTH — A fire in South Dartmouth early this morning that officials believe to be suspicious led to police pursuing a fugitive across several SouthCoast communities and Rhode Island this morning before ending in Connecticut.
Massachusetts State Police confirmed on Twitter just before noon that troopers were on scene in Westport at I-195 and Route 88 searching for the suspect in a white Toyota Tacoma pickup truck.
Officials described him as a white man, possibly armed, and asked the public to stay away from him but to call 911 if he is spotted.
According to state police Twitter updates, the suspect was pursued through Rhode Island and into Connecticut on Wednesday afternoon.
As of just after 1 p.m. Wednesday, the suspect's vehicle was stopped in Connecticut on Route 78 and state troopers had established a perimeter.
Connecticut State Police said in a Tweet just before 2 p.m.: "The Connecticut State Police are assisting Rhode Island State Police with an out-of-state investigation and pursuit, which has ended in North Stonington. The scene is active but contained. Area schools have been notified."
The suspect was thought to be armed, and the public was warned to keep away from the scene.
Dartmouth Fire District 1 Chief Peter Andrade confirmed earlier Wednesday morning that fire officials believe the cause of the fire to be suspicious, with Dartmouth police investigating.
Fire crews were called to the blaze at a 111 Prospect St. home at around 5:45 a.m. Wednesday and arrived to find flames engulfing the home.
No occupants were inside at the time, Andrade said.
Crews battled the blaze for nearly an hour, remaining on scene two hours later for cleanup and other follow-up operations.
But the home suffered "significant damage," according to Andrade, and is likely a total loss.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation but is thought to be suspicious.
Unconfirmed scanner chatter reported an intoxicated man with a white pickup truck parked in front of the house, who fled from police up Dartmouth Street toward New Bedford.
Scanner reports — also unconfirmed — indicated that a man in a white pickup truck was involved in a hit-and-run crash in New Bedford shortly afterward, although it is unknown if the two events are related.
Just after noon, unconfirmed scanner reports indicated that three people were injured by a man in a white Toyota pickup truck in Westport near Route 88.
The as-yet unconfirmed reports stated that shots were fired, and the man had a firearm. Medics were called to the scene.
State police helicopters were involved in the pursuit, which spanned Route 6 and I-195 in Westport, ultimately leading to Rhode Island and Connecticut.
State and New Bedford police could not immediately be reached for comment.
The Dartmouth Police Department confirmed for WBSM Wednesday afternoon that the person of interest in the pursuit is the arson suspect.