NORTH PLAINFIELD, NJ – The Somerset County Prosecutor alleges that late Saturday night Plainfield resident Alexis Brito, 22, walked into his ex-girlfriend’s home on Manning Avenue in North Plainfield, took an iPad and set fire to the home.
All residents in the house and two neighboring homes that were damaged were evacuated safely, but a teenage girl who neighbors describe as around 17 was forced to jump to safety out of a second floor window.
A spokesman for the prosecutor’s office says the teenage girl was alone in the home at the time of the fire, and had only minor injuries. She was treated at the scene.
North Plainfield Fire Chief William Eaton states one firefighter was injured battling the blaze.
North Plainfield Police arrested Brito on Sunday morning at about 2:39 p.m. on Sandford Avenue, about two blocks from the arson. Brito will be charged with three counts of second degree aggravated arson, third degree burglary, fourth degree theft and third degree endangering the welfare of a child.
Despite arriving within four minutes of receiving the midnight 911 call, flames were coming out of the windows on the first and second floors by the time the North Plainfield Fire Department arrived at the two and a half story home, and the siding was melting on both the victim’s house and the home directly to the west. The home to the east also received minor damage.
“The on duty crew made an aggressive fire attack which kept the adjacent homes from suffering further damage,” said North Plainfield Fire Chief William Eaton.
The fire was put out within 30 minutes of arrival with the assistance of fire departments from Plainfield, Green Brook and Watchung. Warren and Bridgewater.
Sharonda and Bashirah Spann live in a neighboring home that received significant damage, but stated that they did not know the residents of the home where the fire was started. Bashirah was the first to escape their house, but Sharonda was in her bedroom on the other side of the home and did not know she was in danger.
“I heard my sister calling my name but I didn’t know why, so I called her on the phone,” said Sharonda. “She didn’t answer, but called me back and told me to get out of the house because of the fire.”
The Spann sisters were kept out of their home by the emergency services crews for about three hours, and were not allowed to reenter their home until it was cleared as safe by the North Plainfield Fire Department.
Brito was turned over to the Somerset County Prosecutor and lodged in the Somerset County Jail. Judge Anthony F. Picheca, Jr. set bail at $100,000 cash only.