A Hempstead man is facing charges for allegedly setting a house fire that left a 12-year-old girl with permanent injuries after she was forced to jump out of a second-story window, the Nassau County District Attorney said.
Christful Fouse, 36, was arraigned this week and charged with multiple counts of arson and assault after he allegedly set a house on fire in 2016 following a physical altercation on Long Beach Road in Hempstead.
Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas said that at approximately 9:20 a.m. on June 30, 2016, Fouse was allegedly involved in a physical altercation with three men before leaving the house.
It is alleged that Fouse returned to the home approximately 15 minutes later with a water bottle filled with gasoline. He then poured that onto a first-floor couch, and set it on fire. The flames quickly spread throughout the home, prompting a response from eight local fire departments, which was required to knock down the flames.
Singas said that at the time of the altercation and fire, a 12-year-old was sleeping in an upstairs bedroom. While the fire spread, one of the men inside the house tried to wake her up by knocking on the door, but the door was locked, and she did not respond.
The child - now 16 years old - heard the fire alarms and was forced to climb out of a second-story window and jump to the ground for safety. She was transported to Nassau University Medical Center by North Shore Ambulatory Hospital Ambulance Service with a fractured spine and fractures to her right foot.
Singas noted that the teenager suffers from a permanent limp as a result of the fire. Screws and other medically implanted hardware will remain in her foot for the rest of her life.
No other injuries were reported as a result of the fire. Following the fire, Fouse fled the scene and was on the run for years until he was apprehended in Hempstead on March 16 this year.
Fouse was charged with first-degree arson, second-degree arson, first-degree assault, second-degree assault and reckless endangerment, all felonies.Fouse is currently being held in lieu of a $1 million bond or $500,000 cash bail. If he is convicted, he may face life in prison.
“A 12-year-old girl nearly died when she jumped from a second-floor window to escape a house fire that this defendant allegedly set to settle a score,” DA Singas said. “I’m grateful to the firefighters and paramedics who treated this young victim and committed to holding the alleged arsonist accountable for this horrifically reckless crime.”
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