An upstate New York man allegedly set his girlfriend on fire and the apartment they were living in while children were inside, WHEC-TV reports.
Plush Dozier, 22, is now facing charges of first-degree arson and second-degree attempted murder in connection with the incident. Around 12:45 a.m. Friday, emergency crews responded to the couple’s apartment in Batavia, New York, which is between Buffalo and Rochester.
Investigators suspect that Dozier started the blaze because he was angry with his girlfriend.
The girlfriend said she believed her children were inside the burning apartment. Police could not enter the unit because of the blaze, so firefighters with protective gear made their way in, but the children were nowhere to be found, WKBW-TV reports.
Authorities later discovered that the kids escaped without physical injury and went to a neighbor’s home, The Daily News reports. The girlfriend has been hospitalized and is in stable condition, but her identity has not yet been released.
The woman has four children – two girls and two boys – according to a neighbor who spoke with the newspaper on Friday morning. A police officer and firefighter also were injured at the scene but were later released from a hospital.
Batavia Fire Chief Stefano Napolitan said the initial report of children inside the apartment prompted firefighters to take swift action.
“When you receive a call like that and you’re dispatched with possible entrapment of children, we don’t change the way we respond, but it just adds a sense of urgency to the ‘size up’ process even quicker, because the officers are trying to formulate a plan before they’re even at the scene, based on dispatch info,” Napolitano said.
Dozier remains behind bars without bail.
[Feature Photo: Plush Dozier/Batavia Police Department]