Charges Filed in Fatal Wilmington Fire

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Fire officials continue to investigate what caused a deadly fire in Wilmington. But NBC10's Nefertiti Jaquez talked to a family who says they already know exactly what happened.

    Charges have been being filed against a man who police say intentionally set a fire that killed a 64-year-old man and injured two others after it spread to several homes in Wilmington, Delaware.

    Wilmington Fire Marshal and the Arson Task Force have filed charges against 79-year-old Johnny Williams. He is charged with 2nd degree murder, 1st Degree Arson and 3 counts of 1st Degree Reckless Endangering for allegedly causing the building fire that claimed the life 64-year-old Jose DeJesus.

    The fire began around 1:30 p.m. Saturday on the first floor of a row home that was converted into three apartments on the 1100 block of West 5th Street. It quickly spread to three adjacent houses.

    Deadly Wilmington Fire

    [PHI] Deadly Wilmington Fire
    One person is dead and two other people injured after a building fire spread to adjacent homes in Wilmington. NBC10's Nefertiti Jaquez has the story.

    Firefighters arrived and were able to place the blaze under control at 2:29 p.m.

    Investigators say DeJesus (pictured right) was found dead on the third floor of the building. 

    “I was crying because I knew he didn’t get out,” said neighbor Tamara Howard. “It went fast. He really doesn’t get out his apartment because he can’t get out of his apartment."

    DeJesus' family members told NBC10’s Nefertiti Jaquez that he had trouble getting out of his home because he was disabled and could not walk after a bad accident.

    The family of Williams, who was injured in the blaze, told NBC10 Saturday that the fire was not an accident. They said the former military veteran had dementia and was battling depression. They also claim Williams first tried to cut his wrist and then set his furniture in his first floor apartment on fire as a way to kill himself.

    “He didn’t mean to hurt anyone. All he kept saying is he meant to kill himself and he was sorry,” said Williams’ granddaughter Taneka Williams.

    Williams is currently being held in custody under guard by the Wilmington Fire Marshal at Wilmington Hospital until he is medically released.

    There is no word on his condition.

    A press conference was scheduled for Monday at the Wilmington Fire Station located at 400 West 2nd Street. It was canceled Sunday night.

     

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