NEW YORK (PIX11) – An apparent domestic dispute led a deranged man to set a fire inside his SoHo apartment building Thursday night, putting the lives of his own relatives and neighbors in danger, police said. The man reportedly even blocked first responders from entering the premises to save lives.
According to authorities, 45-year-old Wei Chu Wu allegedly set the fire which started on the second floor of the building at 41 Spring Street.
Wu reportedly got into a heated argument with his wife, Yan He Zheng where he slashed her in the hand.
After the domestic dispute, sources tell the New York Post, Wu set the blaze in the kitchen of his 2A apartment and notified his roommate, “We’re all gonna die.”
The blaze soon grew to a 5-alarm and took firefighters nearly 3 hours to contain. One person was killed while nine were injured in the fire that destroyed the entire building.
The injured were taken to New York Downtown Hospital with non-life-threatening injuries.
Noemi Gutierrez, visiting from California, said she witnessed an argument between two men in front of the building just minutes before she noticed it was on fire.
Gutierrez told PIX11, “When people started coming out of the building, we heard an argument between two individuals – two men. There was one man who looked like he was upset, standing in front of the door, looking like he really didn’t want anyone coming inside of the building. He was letting people out of the building, but it seemed like he had a harder time letting people inside the building.”
Later authorities determined that the man who blocked rescue efforts was in fact Wu. Police say he fought with a responding NYPD officer, a tourist and a firefighter visiting from California.
Wu remains in police custody Friday where charges are pending. The woman involved in the domestic dispute was not injured in the fire.