Pleasantville woman charged in fire that burned Atlantic City rowhomes

belfield fire folo

A Pleasantville woman is accused of setting a fire the burned a block of Atlantic City rowhomes.

Monica Parrish, 48, was allegedly seen using an accelerant on several porches in the 1500 block of Belfield Avenue before the blaze engulfed all five homes.

Fire Chief Scott Evans called the response “the biggest display of heroism” he had seen in his 36 years.

Police and firefighters saved 10 people from the flames, with three being sent to the hospital for treatment.

A K-9 dog from the state Division of Fire Safety was used to positively identify the presence of an accelerant.

Security at the Atlantic County Office Building in the 1300 block of Atlantic Avenue that the individual responsible for starting the fire was in the building, Lt. Kevin Fair said.

Officers Elijah Johnson and Giovanni Berardis arrived and security personnel pointed out Parrish.  

She was detained and later interviewed by investigators, Fair said. 

She was then charged with arson and is in the Atlantic County Justice Facility pending a detention hearing.

The investigation was led by Police Sgt. Matthew Cocuzza and Fire Capt. Stephen Kohler. 

“I say all the time our first responders are the best in the world, and this week is a perfect example why,” Mayor Marty Small said. “Without hesitation, the men and women of the Atlantic City Fire Department and Atlantic City Police Department ran into that burning building and saved lives, then they were able to quickly figure out the cause.  The people of the Great City of Atlantic City can rest assured they will always be in good hands when it comes to public safety.”

“I could not be prouder of our firefighters, who immediately switched gears into rescue mode, and went right into action in what was a challenging situation,” Evans said.  “The Atlantic City Police Department also deserves all the credit in the world for their valiant efforts, as do all our First Responders.”

Police Chief James Sarkos said his department is ““We are “committed to ensuring the safety of our community and bringing those responsible for devastating crimes to justice.”

“We are grateful for the cooperation of our partners in this investigation, everyone that responded to the fire scene, and most importantly, the members of the community who aided us from the initial response to the arrest of the suspect,” Sarkos added.