East Harlem fire victim dies of injuries, family says

November 16, 2013 6:03:57 AM PST
Family members say a man critically injured in an apartment building fire in East Harlem last week has died.

23-year old Eddie Perez was hurt in a fire that appears to have been the culmination of an ongoing dispute with a woman.

Police charged 21-year old Manuela Lopez with arson and assault in the fire.

She's accused of setting fire to a pile of clothes in her 8th-floor apartment, all because of a fight over a phone.

Several people asleep in the apartment, including a one-year old baby, escaped the flames.

Witnesses say the victims were hanging out of the window gasping for air.

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.