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Domestic Dispute May Have Led To Suspicious And Deadly 5-Alarm SoHo Fire

FDNY: 200 Firefighters Respond To Blaze On Spring, Between Mulberry And Mott
SoHo fire, Jan. 10, 2013. (Credit: Justine Marino)

SoHo fire, Jan. 10, 2013. (Credit: Justine Marino)

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NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — One person was killed and two others were injured in a building fire in SoHo on Thursday night.

FDNY officials said approximately 200 firefighters battled the five-alarm blaze at the five-story walk-up at 41 Spring St., between Mulberry and Mott streets. The fire was reported just after 6:30 p.m. and was deemed suspicious by investigators, 1010 WINS’ Eileen Lehpamer reported.

CBS 2’s Derricke Dennis has learned one person is in custody, a 45-year-old man of Asian descent who lives on the second floor. He apparently got into some sort of domestic dispute with his girlfriend and was seen lighting the fire and then attempting to prevent onrushing firefighters from entering the building, NYPD Commissioner Ray Kelly said.

Firefighters said the blaze started in a second floor apartment. They called on the arson squad to investigate whether something or someone caused the flames to spread fast, from floor to floor.

“Simply because of the heavy volume of fire on arrival, [it] burned away the stairwell on the second to third floor, third to fourth floor, fourth to the fifth floor,” Deputy Fire Chief James Esposito said.

A body was found burned beyond recognition on the third floor fire escape, police said.

Seven firefighters suffered minor injuries. The two pedestrian injuries were not considered life threatening.

Samuel Perez runs the frozen yogurt shop on the ground floor of the building.

“I was cleaning the store. There was a fire coming from the room. [I yelled] everybody out of the store. I called the Fire Department. That’s it. That’s all I can say,” Perez said.

Rattled neighbors said they were thinking of the person killed. Fire officials did not release an identity, age or gender, but Gina Cecala said she was worried about an elderly man, who lives in the building, who had not been seen.

“We know the guy that lives in the building. We don’t know if he’s the one who’s dead. Thirty-five years he’s lived there. He lives on the fourth floor,” Cecala said.

Please stay with CBSnewYork.com for more on this developing story …

The scene outside 41 Spring St., where firefighters battled a fatal five-alarm blaze on Jan. 10, 2013. (Photo: Eileen Lehpamer/1010 WINS)

The scene outside 41 Spring St., where firefighters battled a fatal five-alarm blaze on Jan. 10, 2013. (Photo: Eileen Lehpamer/1010 WINS)