FDNY Marshals Bust Firebug Who Set Old Home on Fire for Good Luck

NY Daily News - June 02, 2018

by KERRY BURKE and THOMAS TRACY

An unhinged man set fire to a Brooklyn home — trapping 16 people inside — because he believed it was the only way to end the curse hanging over him, authorities said Thursday. Sean Figaro, 37, emptied the contents of a gas can outside his old home on E. 80th St. near Farragut Road in Canarsie about 2:18 a.m. Monday and set fire to the front of the building.

The fire spread to the first floor, blocking people from going out the front entrance, officials said. Firefighters removed 16 people from the rear of the building. All of the injuries were minor. The fire was under control within 40 minutes, officials said. Murielle Voltaire, 62, was in her apartment in an upper floor of the building when the fire broke out.

“My husband was sleeping in the living room. I heard a boom. He came running back to our bedroom, shouting, get up, get out, get out,” she said. “It was a big fire from the bottom of the building to the top. It was all in flames. We had to run for our lives.” FDNY marshals recovered surveillance video of Figaro running away from the scene and learned he used to live in the building.

“He believed he was cursed,” a law enforcement source with knowledge of the case said. “He used to live in that home with that family and got into a longstanding dispute with them before he left in 2015.

“He said he had a run of bad luck after he left, so he believed he could reverse the curse if he set the building on fire.”

Emilie Simon, 82, a retired cleaning woman who rents a room to Figaro, was stunned to have him under her roof.“It’s blowing me away,” she said. “There were four detectives here yesterday. My God, gasoline, fire, 16 people. Thank God he didn’t do it here.”

She said that Figaro worked as a nursing home aide on Atlantic Ave and she rented him the room after he got kicked out of the 80th St. building.

“He was so quiet you would never suspect, we never knew,” she said. “You thought he was such a good guy because he never gave me any problems.”

Figaro hid in his apartment when detectives first came by, but they waited him out and nabbed him Wednesday when he left for work.They charged him with 16 counts of attempted murder, one count of arson and criminal mischief.

A judge ordered him held on $750,000 bail.