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Press Releases / 2007 FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: September 18, 2007


All-hands fire seriously burned arsonist’s ex and injured three responding firefighters

Fire Commissioner Nicholas Scoppetta announced today fire marshals arrested a 52-year-old man on charges he set a fire inside a Brooklyn brownstone after his live-in girlfriend ended their relationship and asked him to leave.

Charles Norbert was taken into custody last night in connection with the early-morning fire yesterday at 744 Lafayette Ave. Charges are pending at this time.

Mr. Norbert’s ex-girlfriend managed to escape the fire but suffered second-degree burns over 35% of her body. The 52-year-old woman is currently in stable condition at NewYork Presbyterian Hospital/Weill Cornell Medical Center. Three firefighters who fought the blaze also were injured and were treated at area hospitals.

“This suspect showed absolutely no regard for public safety and placed so many lives at risk with a twisted plot for revenge,” said Commissioner Scoppetta. “I applaud the members of our Bureau of Fire Investigation who worked hard to take him off the City’s streets, and I hope that his victim makes a full and complete recovery.”

As a result of an investigation by fire marshals, it was determined Mr. Norbert used an ignitable liquid to start multiple fires on the first floor of the three-story occupied building. Fire marshals also determined that prior to the fire, Mr. Norbert made violent threats to his ex-girlfriend and other building tenants following the end of the couple’s relationship.

Hours after the fire, fire marshals located Mr. Norbert at a nearby friend’s house in Brooklyn and placed him under arrest with assistance from the NYPD, including members of the Emergency Service Unit. Mr. Norbert, who suffered burns while setting the fire, was transported to Staten Island University Hospital where he is receiving treatment.

The all-hands fire was first reported yesterday at 12:46 a.m., and more than 60 firefighters and 12 units responded to the residential building. The fire was brought under control by 2:13 a.m.

Press Contact: Francis X. Gribbon & Tony Sclafani, (FDNY) (718) 999-2056

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