Man Charged in 2006 Brooklyn Fire That Killed 4

Prosecutors said the man set a fire on the first floor that spread upwards

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    NEWSLETTERS

    For years, a case of arson in Brooklyn that killed four people -- two of them children -- remained unsolved. Now, six years later, investigators finally believe they've found the person who set it, and he's being charged with murder. Lori Bordonaro reports. (Published Wednesday, Jun 20, 2012)

    A Brooklyn man has been indicted on murder charges in a 2006 fire that killed four people, including a mother and her two children.

    District Attorney Charles Hynes says Samuel Martinez torched a first-floor apartment on Pacific Street in Crown Heights on Feb. 24, 2006.

    The prosecutor says investigators believe Martinez frequented the building to buy heroin from a tenant there.

    The fire quickly spread to the upper floors, where residents tried frantically to escape.

    A 23-year-old woman jumped out of a fourth-floor apartment window and died from a shattered spine.

    On the third floor, a couple and their young children, 3 and 1, tried to get out, but the mother and 3-year-old were "instantly engulfed in flames" when they opened the door to their hallway, prosecutors said.

    The father and son were trapped in the apartment. The father broke a window and hung on the ledge but could not keep his grip, prosecutors said.

    He eventually survived but the young boy died.

    The father, Kassoum Fofana, told NBC 4 New York on Tuesday that he was relieved that authorities found a suspect.

    "It cannot bring my family back but I am satisfied whatever the judge do for that kind of person," he said.

    FDNY investigators worked for years to solve the case.

    "A tragedy like this cannot and will not be forgotten, nor can a crime like this go unpunished," Hynes said in a statement.

    Martinez pleaded not guilty at his arraignment Tuesday. His attorney said he did not set the fire.

    Prosecutors say Martinez was not charged with arson because the statute of limitations ran out.

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