Marcell Dockery, 16, faces second-degree murder, arson, assault and reckless endangerment charges.
He faces a maximum of 25 years to life behind bars if convicted.
Sources told CBS 2 Dockery has a history of setting fires. His attorney claimed Dockery banged on doors trying to get people out of the building when he was unable to put out the fire.
NYPD officers Dennis Guerra and Rosa Rodriguez rushed to the 13th floor of the building to help, but they were overcome by smoke and carbon monoxide.
Guerra, 38, never regained consciousness. He died from his injuries at Montefiore Medical Center. The married father of four had more than seven years on the job.
Rodriguez, 36, remained at the burn unit at Weill Cornell Medical Center until May 19. She is a single mother of four kids and a four-year veteran of the NYPD Housing Bureau.
Officer Guerra was survived by his wife Cathy and their four children – Kathleen, 20; Jonathan, 17; Alyssa, 14; and Zachary, 7.
The Silver Shield Foundation announced it is collecting funds to help cover college expenses for Guerra’s children.