Suspect in custody in connection with fatal New Carrollton fire -- Gazette.Net


This story was updated at 3:15 p.m., Jan. 15, 2013.

Prince George’s County police said they have arrested a suspect Monday in connection with a fatal apartment fire that left two people dead in New Carrollton.

John Michael Abbate, 45, of the 7600 block of Fontainebleau Drive, was found dead Sunday inside a charred apartment in the same block, while 53-year-old Tanya Winston of the 8600 block of Leslie Avenue in Glenarden died after jumping from a 40-foot balcony of the same burning apartment that officials say was intentionally set on fire.

Julie Parker, a county police spokeswoman, said Monday that police arrested Anthony Andre Allain, 44, who lived in the apartment, in connection with the blaze.

Allain will face two charges of murder along with one count of first-degree arson, Parker said.

County police spokeswoman Nicole Hubbar said Tuesday that Winston had been in a relationship with Allain, but could not confirm Allain’s relationship with Abbate.

Parker said Allain allegedly barricaded himself and the two victims inside the apartment before setting the residence on fire. Allain jumped off the third story balcony and fled to the basement of a nearby apartment building, where he was found and arrested by police Sunday night. He was transported to an area hospital for non-life-threatening burn injuries, Parker said.

An attorney representing Allain was not yet listed in online court records Tuesday.

Parker said Allain was affiliated with GROUP Program Inc., a Laurel-based nonprofit organization that works with those who have mental illnesses, and his apartment was a group home for people with mental illnesses.

Representatives for GROUP Program Inc. were not immediately available for comment Monday.

Around 7:45 p.m. Sunday, firefighters responded to the apartment, which had flames coming from a top floor in the rear of the apartment building, said Mark Brady, chief spokesman for the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department.

When the fire was extinguished, firefighters found one adult dead inside the apartment, Brady said.

Another was found outside with massive upper body trauma and was pronounced dead after being transported to a trauma center, he said. Brady said the person jumped from the rear side top-floor balcony and landed 40-feet below.

Nearly 50 residents in the apartment building may be displaced, and the county’s Citizens Services Unit and the Red Cross is providing temporary housing, Brady said.

Damages are estimated at $200,000, Brady said.

County police said investigators are still trying to determine what caused the fire.