Man Suspected of Stabbing his Wife and Four Kids before Setting the House Ablaze UNSPLASH

A man accused of setting a sleeping drug addict on fire in a building in New York City (NYC) has been arrested on arson and attempted murder charges.

Christopher Watson's nephew saw the flames and ran screaming into their house after which he rushed to the scene near his third-floor apartment, reported New York Daily News.

Recalling the Friday incident, Watson said that the victim had clothes on, but they were "melted in his skin," and he was on fire. He could smell the burning victim, but Watson said that the person wasn't even crying or making noise.

Police said that the man, believed to be in his 30s, suffered severe burns after Nathaniel Terry, who lives in the same building, set the victim's pants leg on fire with a lighter Friday afternoon. A source said that Terry was trying to “scare” the man off.

Surveillance video of the attack inside the Samuel Gompers Houses in NYC was found by cops after which police arrested Terry, 27, according to NBC New York. It was his first arrest, and when questioned by cops, Terry reportedly admitted to setting the fire in an attempt to frighten off the man. A judge set his bail at $150,000 bond or $75,000 cash Saturday in Manhattan Criminal Court.

Police said that the homeless victim, whose name wasn't revealed, was in a medically induced coma at a hospital Saturday with burns across more than 75% of his body.

The building's residents told police that they often saw the man sleeping in its stairwells and hallways. According to surveillance video mentioned in a criminal complaint, the victim was lying on a stairwell when Terry found him. The complaint said that after Terry started the fire, he took the stairs and fled. The complaint further said that the fire engulfed the victim, who burned for several minutes before someone helped him.

When the police arrived to find the victim, he was visiting family inside the building. He said that he didn't know if somebody set him on fire or if he set himself on fire, but "he was burnt to a crisp.”

The homeless man often found refuge inside the building, said resident Anita Martinez. A source said that residents have frequently complained about homeless people sleeping in the building's staircases and hallways.

House Fire
Representational image. Pixabay.