NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – A former tenant accused of setting a fire that killed a wheelchair-bound woman in Queens is due in court today on murder and arson charges.
Friends and neighbors said 63-year-old Bibi Jasmin had lived in the home on 219th Street for years and was working to get her health back on track after a recent stroke.
When the fire broke out late Tuesday night, she was trapped inside an apartment on the first floor.
“Even if she tried, she couldn’t make it out on her own, because she was there by herself. She had no chance to make it on her own. It’s very sad,” neighbor Angelica Estrada told CBS2.
“She wasn’t able to get out, she wasn’t able to get out,” another person added.
Sources told CBS2 a former tenant – identified as 49-year-old Persaud Rampersuad – set the fire with an ignitable liquid while Jasmin slept.
“As soon as we look outside, there was a whole bunch of smoke in front of our window. I rush and I call 911,” neighbor Deodat Cipriana said.
As crews worked to secure the house Wednesday, neighbors tried to salvage what they could, including school book bags. Others were forced to find a new place to live, while coping with the loss of a friend.
“It’s sad, it’s really sad. I’m feeling sad, and I’m mad also,” said Shawn Rampersaed, who lived in the basement. “It’s a sad situation. I just don’t know what to say. I’m all confused right now. I’m still trying to recover from this whole thing.”
Rampersuad was charged with murder and arson and is expected to face a judge today.