Bronx Man Charged With Arson After Blaze Left Three People With Lung Damage

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A Bronx man accused of setting an apartment building on fire earlier this year, which left three people seriously injured, has been charged with arson and indicted on several other charges.

The Bronx district attorney's office on Thursday said 48-year-old Albert Blease intentionally set gasoline cans on fire in his own apartment at 215 West 242nd St. in the Riverdale section of the borough. First responders said they saw Blease with a machete and two gas cans in the doorway after they noticed fire coming from his apartment.

According to prosecutors, the fire started spreading to the apartment unit above Blease where Damarys Molina, 59, and Carlos Matias, 37, lived. Molina was seriously burned and sustained lung damage from the smoke. She received three skin grafts and was on a ventilator for a month, the DA's office said.

Blease’s next-door neighbor, 31-year-old Joshua Pizarro, was able to alert other neighbors about the fire but he was also injured. Pizarro and Matias were both placed on a ventilator and suffered sustaining lung from smoke inhalation.

“The defendant allegedly started a fire in a five-story building he lived in, not caring about the danger to dozens of his neighbors," District Attorney Darcel Clark said in a news release. "The victims are still suffering terrible physical and emotional pain because of the defendant’s alleged barbaric actions."

In addition to arson, Blease was indicted on six counts of first-degree Assault, six counts of second-degree Assault, second and third-degree Criminal Mischief, first and second degree Reckless Endangerment and fourth-degree Criminal Possession of a Weapon.

Blease is due back in court on March 18, 2021, according to the DA's office. It's unclear if he has a representative who can speak on his behalf.

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