Arson arrest in East Harlem fire that left 4 injured

Darla Miles has the story
November 8, 2013 7:03:03 PM PST
A 23-year-old man was critically injured in an East Harlem apartment building fire early Friday that appears to be the culmination of an ongoing dispute with a woman.

"The baby is like magically not touched," said Peter Anthony, the victim's cousin.

In the exclusive video, you can see a baby girl swaddled in a white blanket leaving Mount Sinai Hospital, held in the arms of the man who friends say, saved the infant's life.

"Thanks to God and the other guy in the house who took it upon himself to break the window and hand the baby outside to the fresh air," Anthony said.

The most seriously injured in the Friday morning apartment fire was 23-year-old Eddie Perez. "He's badly hurt, they say he got 25% burn marks," said Chris Delacruz, the victim's cousin.

A picture shows the flames through the apartment window. Police say Perez, the baby, two women, and another 28-year-old man were all in an eighth floor apartment at the Dewitt Clinton Houses around 1 a.m.

That's when they say 21-year-old Manuela Lopez set a pile of clothing on fire. She was last overheard complaining about a lost cell phone.

"Everybody was sleeping and they woke up, it was fire, smoke, and the other female that was in there she had clothes all over the place," Anthony said.

"I saw one girl crying, but the other girl was like, 'but you start the fire, you start the fire,' that's all I saw," a witness said.

"And the one who is being accused, did she say anything?" Eyewitness News asked.

"No, she was just crying," the witness said.

In addition to the critically injured man and the 1-year-old girl, a 28-year-old man and a 20-year-old woman were also treated for injuries at Mount Sinai Hospital.

The suspect was taken into custody and faces serveral charges including arson.