Correction Officer Accused of Lighting Bed-Stuy Fire That Injured 12
BROOKLYN — A New York City Department of Correction officer was arrested after she lit a fire in a Bedford-Stuyvesant row house that left 12 people hurt, police said.
Yvette Randolph, 43, started the fire in a hallway of her former apartment building, 375 Chauncey St., on Thursday to get back at an ex-boyfriend who she used to live with, police and sources said.
Five others were treated for minor injuries, the spokesman added.
Randolph had lurked around the building for months before setting the fire, even after neighbors told her that her ex, who went by the nickname "Spud," had moved out.
She returned several times, banging on the door to Spud's former apartment, according to Shanell Dukes, a neighbor who spoke to the apartment's current tenants.
"All you heard was banging, like someone was kicking in the door," said Dukes, 18.
Randolph returned Wednesday night but couldn't access the building, Dukes said. She came back about 9:15 a.m. Thursday morning and started the fast-moving fire, according to witnesses and police.
The NYPD's Arson and Explosion Squad arrested Randolph and she is expected to be charged with arson.
A neighborhood building super, Derick Hamilton, saw the fire beginning to spread and alerted those inside.
"It was blazing inside. We ran to the windows and started knocking on the windows and screaming, 'Fire, fire, fire!'" said Hamilton, 62.
Some residents crawled out of first-floor windows while others were helped by the approximately 100 firefighters who responded, witnesses said.
"They were carrying them out every which way — from the ladders to the windows," said Nakia Gadson, 31. "They got everybody out alive, even the animals."
The blaze ultimately affected all six apartments in the building, the FDNY said.
The Red Cross provided emergency housing for three families, made up of seven adults and six kids, after the fire, a spokesman said.
"Every man and woman serving in the NYC Department of Correction is saddened for all who were injured in the blaze and lost their homes," said the department's commissioner, Dora B. Schiro.
"We wish for their speedy and complete recovery."