A man who was being evicted has been arrested on charges related to the house fire that killed a Yonkers, N.Y., firefighter on Friday, according to the news web site LoHud.com.
Rafael Roldan, 33, a tenant of the three-story apartment building allegedly set ablaze early Friday morning. He was arrested and charged with second-degree murder, second-degree arson and second degree burglary, all felonies, according to the web site.
The fire claimed the life of firefighter Patrick Joyce Jr., 39, a 16-year veteran of the Yonkers Fire Department. Two other Yonkers firefighters who were battling the blaze at the same time are hospitalized recovering from serious injuries suffered during the same fire.
According to the U.S. Fire Administration preliminary report, Joyce along with the two other firefighters was "forced by rapidly progressing fire conditions to jump from the third story of a residence." Joyce succumbed to the traumatic injuries he suffered from the fall.
All the residents of the four-family home escaped the fire. Origins of the fire were suspicious right from the start, according to the report.
The suspect in the fire is being held by the Westchester County Department of Corrections. Formal charges are expected to be filed in Yonkers Criminal Court on Monday.
According to the LoHud.com web report, Roldan was evicted from the home four weeks ago for failing to pay rent and lost his job at a Yonkers factory.
Sometime shortly before 1 a.m., investigators believe the suspect entered the house after breaking and removing a safety bar on a side window, according to the web report.
It's believed he was there to get personal belongings and became upset that his things had been strewn around and set two small fires on the first floor, according to the web site.
"We do believe he is fully responsible for setting the fire at that location," said First Deputy Police Chief Charles Gardner. "He did implicate himself in the crime."
District Attorney Janet DiFiore joined police and firefighters, including Peter Joyce, Patrick Joyce's twin brother, at a press conference Saturday. Family photos, including one of Patrick and Peter, also a Yonkers firefighter, sitting on the front bumper of a fire truck, were displayed. Another photo showed Patrick with his wife and two kids.
Fire Commissioner Anthony Pagano, standing near the fallen firefighter's family, tearfully told the widow and two daughters, "We will be your family for the rest of your life. Right fellas?" Dozens of firefighters gathered around, said yes and applauded, according to the LoHud.com web site.