SPRINGFIELD, Mass. (AP) — A Massachusetts police officer who survived an attempted stabbing by an arson suspect was likely saved by a ceramic plate in the center of his bulletproof vest directly above his heart.

Acting Springfield Police Commissioner Cheryl Clapprood said Thursday that Officer Gregory Vatrano is lucky to be alive after the knife glanced off his so-called trauma plate. It did not penetrate his skin.

Vatrano responded at about 9:30 p.m. Wednesday to the fire allegedly set by 39-year-old Ruben Barrero, angry after being thrown out of his mother's home.

He was held without bail Thursday after a judge entered not guilty pleas on his behalf to charges including attempted murder and arson.

Barrero's attorney asked that his client undergo a mental health evaluation.

Vatrano is the brother of Florida Panthers player Frank Vatrano.

Copyright 2019 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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