First On WITN: Officials: Man Sets Apartment Fire To Punish Son

A man has been arrested after officials say he set his Greenville apartment on fire to teach his son a lesson. The fire ended up spreading to several other apartments and around a dozen people were displaced.

The fire happened back on December 1st on Patton Circle in the South Square apartment complex.

At the time Melvin Barrett told investigators that the fire accidentally started by a candle, but after further investigation officials say Barrett intentionally set the fire. They say Barrett doused his sofa and mattress with accelerants. Officials say Barrett set the fire to teach his son a lesson for wanting to throw a party in his apartment.

Barrett is currently in the Pitt County Detention Center under a $10,000 dollar bond. He is charged with fraudulently burning a dwelling.

His first court appearance is scheduled for Monday.


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Comments are posted from viewers like you and do not always reflect the views of this station.
  • by Erin Location: Williamston on Jan 10, 2012 at 08:51 AM
    The father didn't about where would we stay once I set the apartment on fire. This was not a smart lesson to teach.
  • by Broadway on Jan 9, 2012 at 11:23 PM
    He can put up that smile for bail money!
  • by Citizen Location: Greenville on Jan 9, 2012 at 07:11 AM
    This guy is just the type of crazy maniac you'd find in that area.
  • by Obama really? Location: Greenville on Jan 8, 2012 at 05:35 PM
    I will be first in line to vote Obama out for differences of political opinions. But some of you people are way out there. An ignorant man who happens to be black burns a couch and somehow this is the president's fault? Please explain
  • by rastus on Jan 8, 2012 at 05:24 PM
    He sho' looks like he be happy 'bout somwthin' !!
  • by Anonymous on Jan 8, 2012 at 02:41 PM
    This man needs a straight jacket.
  • by Formerly O.L.I. Location: ENC on Jan 8, 2012 at 01:21 PM
    I don't think the kid wanting to throw a party is as bad as setting the apartment (a unit surrounded by other people) on fire was, by the father. He has taught the kid a lesson alright; think before you act, and don't act solely on anger.
  • by laura Location: greenville on Jan 8, 2012 at 12:43 PM
    I imagine what happened is he took something like Jack and poured a little on the couch- "See, if someone spilled their drink like this, then someone else had a match..." Old furniture is really flammable. Thank goodness no one was injured, and it's terribly dumb, but I can see where it could have truly been an accident. Like the time I was lecturing my son about staying away from the stove because it's hot as I mindlessly put my hand on a burner that I'd turned on and totally forgot about. I hate it for all those involved, at the same time, I can appreciate an, albeit, very misguided attempt to parent. Almost as bad as doing something like that will be the years ahead when his son says, "hey dad, remember the last time you tried to teach me a lesson and almost burned down the apartment building...yeah, well I DO..."
  • by Richard Location: Edenton on Jan 8, 2012 at 11:55 AM
    For once Charlie Sheen was correct. YOU CAN'T FOX STUPID
    • reply
      by Vance on Jan 8, 2012 at 03:53 PM in reply to Richard
      You can't PMSnbc it either!
  • by wowww on Jan 8, 2012 at 10:33 AM
    "son, im gonna teach you a lesson by illegally torching property that doesnt belong to us and getting thrown in jail! i'll teach you to party!"
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