Police: Woman set Hartford apartment building on fire after dispute with neighbor

Crime

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) – A Manchester woman is due in court Friday to face several charges after police say she set fire to an apartment building in Hartford.

Eladia Vazquez, 38,  from Manchester is now charged with arson. Police say it didn’t take long to pinpoint her as the suspect thanks to cameras that were located in the building hallway. 

“During the course of the investigation and the interview and the video it was clear that she was the active and the only participant to the crime,” said Lt. Paul Cicero with the Hartford Police Department. 

Vazquez is in a relationship with someone who lives in the building along Wethersfield Avenue. Police say she set clothes on fire outside the door of a second-floor apartment Thursday morning. It happened after some type of disagreement. Three apartments were either destroyed or badly damaged. The rest of the building unlivable for now. 

“The rest of the building has smoke and soot. They need a third party vendor to go through the building pretty thoroughly and clean some of that out before we can have it occupied again,” said Assistant Chief Rodney Barco with the Hartford Fire Department. 

The fire sent adults and children running out into the frigid temperatures. People grabbing what they could, some of them still in their pajamas. The smoke was so bad inside people had to be rescued from windows.

“Many children were dropped from second and third-floor apartment units down to several brave citizens who jumped into action,” said Lt. Cicero. 

Ten people were sent to the hospital with smoke inhalation or minor burns. They’ve since been released. 

News 8 has learned that the building, which has 42 units, did not have working smoke alarms as of last summer. The city has been working with the building owner, and as of January, everything was brought up to code. 

“Thank God the fire alarm system was installed. It did do its job yesterday. Worked as intended and it took them a little to react to it, but they did hear and respond to the notification and that saved a lot of lives yesterday, ” said Ewan Sheriff, fire marshal with the Hartford Fire Department. 

Vazquez was arraigned on Friday where her bond was increased to $750,000. She is due back in court at the end of March. 

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