NEWARK, NJ - Acting Essex County Prosecutor Carolyn A. Murray announced that Yusuf Abdullah, 41, of Newark, also known as Yusuf Camp, has pleaded guilty to second-degree aggravated arson before Superior Court Judge Siobhan Teare.

Under the terms of the plea agreement the state will recommend that Abdullah be sentenced to seven years in New Jersey State Prison with an 85 percent period of parole ineligibility pursuant to the No Early Release Act (NERA).

The defendant admitted today to purposely setting his clothes on fire in the foyer of 207 North Walnut St., East Orange which was his ex-girlfriend’s apartment building, causing damage to six apartments in that section of the building. 

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At the time of the fire, numerous apartments were occupied with residents who were rescued by the East Orange Fire Department from fire escapes and apartment windows because the fire blocked their means of egress from the building, according to Assistant Prosecutor Jason Hollingsworth who handled the case.

The investigation was conducted by Captain Lance Nero of the East Orange Fire Department, who is currently attached to the Essex County Prosecutor’s Office Arson Squad. 

“This defendant recklessly put countless lives at risk,’’ said Hollingsworth.

Sentencing is scheduled for May 22. Abdullah has five prior felony convictions.