Homicide Charges Lodged Against Men Who Allegedly Started Yonkers, New York Fire

May 30, 2003 -- Homicide charges have been lodged against two men who allegedly started the wintertime fire that spread through more than a dozen Yonkers buildings and killed five people. Carlos Muniz Rodriguez, 33, of Yonkers, and Jesus Silva, 37, who is homeless, were arraigned Wednesday on two felony counts each of criminally negligent homicide.

They were charged in the deaths of Pedro and Julia Velez, who died in the March 14 fire, one of the worst in Yonkers' history.

The Velezes' two sons and a daughter-in-law died over the next two months from burns sustained as they ran through the flames to save the Velezes' granddaughter.

The court complaint said Rodriguez and Silva were "squatting" at 98 Oak St., a vacant building next to the Velezes' home, when they started the fire.AP