Tenant Charged With Arson in Blaze That Killed Firefighter

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    NEWSLETTERS

    NBCNewYork.com
    Rafael Roldan was charged with second-degree arson and second-degree murder.

    A tenant who was being evicted has been arrested on arson charges in a blaze at a suburban home that killed a Yonkers firefighter. 

    Westchester officials say Rafael Roldan has been charged with second-degree murder, second-degree arson and second-degree burglary. He is being held at the Westchester County Department of Corrections. Formal charges will be filed against him Monday at Yonkers Criminal Court.
        
    Firefighter Patrick Joyce, 39, died about 2 a.m. Friday, said Yonkers Mayor Philip A. Amicone.
        
    Amicone says Joyce, a second firefighter, and a lieutenant rushed into the burning building after hearing reports of people trapped inside. Those reports turned out to be false -- all 15 people who lived in the building had gotten out, the Red Cross said.

    The blaze was too much for the firefighters who bravely went in to search for victims. The intense heat and smoke either knocked them out of a third-floor window or they jumped. The fire chief told NBC New York that the firefighters had a rope, but it frayed or melted and they fell.
        
    Lt. Joseph Murray, 54, and Firefighter William Kanych, 38 are in serious but stable condition. Murray and Kanych have been with the fire department for 27 and 38 years, respectively.
        
    Amicone says Joyce, a 16-year veteran, leaves behind a wife and two young daughters.

    Fire Commissioner Anthony Pagon nearly broke down in tears as he was speaking of Joyce's contributions to the department.

    He called Joyce "fearless" and said he "gave his life to rescue others." 
         
    The last Yonkers firefighter death in the line of duty happened in 1986.