NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A man has been charged in connection with a fatal five-alarm fire in Soho.
Police said it all started with the suspect’s suspicions that his lover was cheating.
Wei Chu Wu, 45, was charged Friday with arson, second-degree murder, attempted assault of a police officer and resisting arrest, police said.
Escorted in handcuffs by police on Friday, 45-year-old Wu sported a black eye — a result of a fight with emergency responders, CBS 2’s Amy Dardashtian reported.
Police said he struggled to keep them from saving the lives of innocent victims after he set fire to the building on Spring Street after getting into an argument with his wife over her accused infidelity.
Wu’s wife ran out of the apartment with their 13-year-old son after Wu allegedly pulled a knife on her, police said. That’s when Wu set fire to the kitchen, police said.
The first emergency responders to arrive said Wu stood outside the building and tried to stop them from going inside by positioning himself outside the front door.
One police officer broke his hand fighting to get past him.
“His lip was broke and his eye was broken,” witness Mary Delgado said.
Wu’s wife told police her husband takes medication for a mental illness but had recently been off his medications, CBS 2’s Kathryn Brown reported.
Police said one person was killed in the fire, but was apparently not part of the dispute. The person’s body was found on the third floor fire escape.
Officials haven’t released the victim’s name, age or gender but neighbors said the victim was a woman whose husband struggled to find her in the chaos.
“I find him with the firemen. I said, ‘Did you find her?’ He said my wife died in the fire,” neighbor Gina Cecala said.
Neighbors said he was crying uncontrollably, Brown reported.
At least seven others suffered minor injuries. Police said Wu’s wife and child are safe.
Dozens of displaced residents had their belongings utterly destroyed and now the Red Cross is working to find them new homes.
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