'Very Troubled' Man Arrested After Fatal Apartment Fire

Witnesses describe horrific scene as fire in group home claimed two victims

View Comments (
)
|
Email
|
Print

    NEWSLETTERS

    The man suspected of starting a deadly fire was a resident at an apartment building used as a group home for the mentally ill. He was found hiding in the basement of a nearby building after the fire.

    A New Carrollton man is under arrest following a fire that killed two people in his apartment complex.

    Anthony Andre Allain, 44, who is in a local hospital being treated for burns, will be charged with two counts of murder and first-degree arson.

    Prince George's County police said Monday they will extradite Allain, who they described as "very troubled," after his treatment.

    Police told News4's Jackie Bensen that Allain was a resident of the apartment building at 7600 Fountainbleau Drive, which was used as a group home for the mentally ill. Allain was found hiding in the basement of a nearby building.

    Man Accused of Setting Fatal Fire

    [DC] Man Accused of Setting Fatal Fire
    Prince George's County Police say Anthony Allain will face felony murder and arson charges relating to the New Carrollton apartment fire that claimed two lives. News4's Jackie Bensen reported.

    John Michael Abbate, 45, of the 7600 block of Fontainbleau Drive, and 53-year-old Tanya Winston, of the Glenarden, died in the Sunday evening blaze. The fire was quickly labeled suspicious by authorities, and neighbors told News4 that they overheard an argument prior to the fire.

    Officers were called to the scene after a witness told a 911 operator that a man barricaded himself and others inside an apartment and started a fire.

    "We believe he may have placed something behind the door to prevent anyone from getting in, or out," said Capt. George Nichols of the Prince George's County Police.

    The body of one victim was found by firefighters inside the building. The other victim died after leaping from the building to avoid the flames.

    Wanda Coad filmed the blaze with her cell phone camera, and saw the victim jump from the apartment, landing about 40 feet below. She suffered massive upper body trauma and later died of those injuries.

    "It's kind of horrific to see somebody... and you can't do anything about it," Coad told News4's Darcy Spencer.

    Witness Paul Little told Spencer that he witnessed the death of the second victim.

    "I guess he got nervous, started to ball up -- and next thing you know he was catching on fire," Little said. "That's when he started screaming louder... and he just kept screaming until the fire took his life."

    No other people were found inside the building and no other deaths or injuries were reported, according to officials.

    Investigators had labeled the fire as suspicious early on. "There are circumstances from the fire, and from the calls that were received that lead us to believe that [it is suspicious]," Prince George's Fire Chief Marc Bashoor said.

    Officials say around 50 residents of the building may be displaced. The County Citizen Services Unit and the Red Cross will assist any residents who need temporary housing.

    Prince George’s County Firefighters and Police are still investigating.  

    Authorities have not yet released the names of the victims.

    Pictured in inset: Anthony Andre Allain