MINEOLA, N.Y. – Nassau County District Attorney Madeline Singas announced that a Hempstead man pled guilty yesterday to setting a house on fire in 2016 – causing permanent injuries to a 12-year-old girl who escaped the flames by jumping from a second-floor window.
Christful Fouse, 36, pled guilty before Judge Teresa Corrigan to Arson in the Second Degree (a B violent felony). He is expected to be sentenced to 12 years in prison and five years’ post release supervision on February 3.
“This defendant nearly killed an innocent 12-year old girl by setting fire to an occupied house,” DA Singas said. “Unfortunately, this young woman will have to live with the injuries she suffered that day for the rest of her life because of the heartless actions of this defendant. This plea ensures that Christful Fouse will be held accountable for his intentional behavior.”
DA Singas said that on June 30, 2016, at approximately 9:20 a.m., the defendant entered a house on Long Beach Road in Hempstead and got into a physical altercation with three acquaintances inside and then left the house.
The indictment charges that the defendant returned to the house approximately 10 to 15 minutes later with a water bottle filled with gasoline, poured the gasoline on a first-floor couch, and set it on fire.
The fire quickly engulfed the two-story home and eight fire departments responded to the scene to extinguish the flames.
At the time of the altercation and fire, a 12-year-old girl 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.
When the child, now 16, realized the house was on fire after hearing fire alarms, she was forced to climb out of a second-story window and jump to the ground. She was transported to Nassau University Medical Center by North Shore Ambulatory Hospital Ambulance Service. The impact of the fall caused a fractured spine and fractures to her right foot that caused a permanent limp. Screws and other medically implanted hardware will remain in her foot for the rest of her life.
No one else was injured during the fire.
Following the fire, the defendant fled the scene and was on the run until his arrest in Hempstead on March 16, 2019, by members of the Nassau County Police Department.
Senior Assistant District Attorney Gregory Murphy of DA Singas’ Special Operations, Narcotics and Gangs Bureau is prosecuting this case. Andrew Monteleone, Esq. represents the defendant.