Suspect in deadly Brooklyn fire held without bail

February 3, 2010 8:40:23 AM PST
The Bensonhurst building tenant who allegedly set the fire that killed five people over the weekend was ordered held without bail at his arraignment Tuesday night.Police say 27-year-old Daniel Ignacio got drunk, used paint thinner, toilet paper and a baby carriage to start the fire early Saturday morning.

A grand jury is now hearing evidence against Ignacio, charged with arson and five counts of second-degree murder. That grand jury is expected to return an indictment against Ignacio soon.

One of the pieces of evidence to be presented to the grand jury is a videotaped statement Ignacio gave detectives while being questioned.

According to the criminal complaint, Ignacio admitted to starting the fire in the vestibule of the apartment building.

As part of the statement, Ignacio told investigators that he started the fire because "The demons made me do it."

Ignacio stated in sum and substance that he was highly intoxicated at that time and that he does "stupid things" when he drinks alcohol.

Ignacio walked out of the 62nd precinct handcuffed and telling reporters in Spanish, "I am not a monster."

Ignacio, who is in the country illegally, was deported in 2003 after pleading guilty to burglary in 2002 and serving 10 months on the felony charge, police said. He was caught leaving a woman's apartment and was found on the roof with her wallet, pink plastic comb and purple pen, police said. He was believed to have re-entered the country through Mexico sometime last year and was working as a day laborer.

On top of facing city charges, Ignacio could also federal charges for illegally re-entering the country after deportation, said Luis Martinez, a spokesman for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement.