Alexander Velazquez
Alexander Velazquez

A York City man torched the apartment building he lived in because he was unhappy about being evicted from his one-room apartment, according to police.

Alexander Velazquez, 43, of 770 W. Market St., Apt. 5, is in York County Prison on $40,000 bail, charged with one count each of arson and risking a catastrophe, and four counts of reckless endangerment.

He lived at 934 Madison Ave. when the house caught fire about 4 a.m. Oct. 11.

Charging documents filed Feb. 11 by city Detective Kyle Hower state that landlord Jill Brown told Velazquez he had to vacate his apartment by Oct. 20 because of "several issues" she was having with him.

'Off his meds': Velazquez told detectives he was "off his medication" at the time of the fire and was upset because he was forced to live in a one-room apartment, police said.

He said he threw a burning cigarette into a shirt over a trash can, setting the shirt on fire, documents allege.

Velazquez said he watched the shirt burn for a time, then stomped it out and left to go to his mother's home, police said.

"The defendant reported that he knew there was most likely people still in the (building) at the time of the fire and when he left," charging documents state.

Cops unconvinced: But the fire was not out when Velazquez left, according to police, who said they believe the defendant's claim of putting out the fire before he left was merely a self-serving statement.

York City firefighters were called to the burning building and quickly extinguished the blaze, which was contained to the second floor, fire officials have said.


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Damage was estimated at $11,000.

Brown, the landlord, told investigators several of Velazquez's belongings -- including a large television -- had been moved out of the building prior to the fire, documents state.

It is unclear whether Velazquez has retained an attorney.

-- Reach Liz Evans Scolforo at levans@yorkdispatch.com.