A 22-year-old Dyker Heights woman was indicted on two counts of second-degree murder and two counts of first-degree arson in Brooklyn Supreme Court on Dec. 11 after she allegedly lit a fatal blaze in her 11th Avenue apartment building last month that killed two tenants.
The woman allegedly set the Nov. 9 blaze just before 7 am in the first-floor staircase of her apartment building between 67th and 68th streets by lighting a candle and newspapers on fire in a trash can. She then allegedly flipped the can over and left the building while the fire was still burning, and it soon spread to engulf the building kill 58-year-old Xi Huang and 56-year-old Feng Xu.
District attorney-elect Eric Gonzalez said in a statement that the court will pursue justice on behalf of the victims, and the families they left behind.
“The alleged actions of this defendant displayed a complete and callous disregard for human life, and caused two tragic but avoidable deaths,” said Gonzalez. “We will now seek justice for the victims and their loved ones for the heartbreaking loss that they suffered.”
The alleged arsonist is captured on surveillance footage leaving the building moments before tenants called 911 to report the fire, according to Gonzalez, and police found traces of an accelerant on her shoes.
Emergency medical personnel pronounced Huang and Xu dead at the scene before transporting four residents and three firefighters to the hospital with non-life threatening injuries.
The woman was ordered held without bail, and her next court date is set for February 6. She faces up to 25 years to life in prison if convicted.
The fire department reported in a tweet last month that there were no working smoke alarms in the building, which contained four residential units and a storefront unit on the ground floor. The city requires property owners by law to provide and install at least one smoke detector in each residential unit that they manage.
The landlord could not be reached for comment.