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Woman held in bid to burn companion

A 46-year-old man was listed in critical condition Tuesday with burns after, police and fire officials said, a woman described as his girlfriend poured rubbing alcohol on him and ignited it Monday morning.

Darrell Berg suffered burns over about 40 percent of his body. He was on a respirator in Erie County Medical Center's burn unit.

Victoria A. Betts, 36, has been charged with attempted murder, assault and arson. She is accused of intentionally igniting his clothing at about 6 a.m. in their apartment at 111 Woodlawn Ave.

Homicide Detectives Patrick A. Judge and Noreen E. Walsh arrested Betts at about 5 p.m. Monday.

"It appears to be some sort of domestic squabble between the two," said Michael J. DeGeorge, police spokesman.

Fire Marshal Lt. Sal Colangelo, whose unit assisted the police investigation, said setting another person on fire is not as uncommon as some may think.

"We've worked several cases in the past year where individuals have poured ignitable liquids onto another person to seek revenge," Colangelo said. "A lot of it is about spite and seeking revenge."

An ambulance was sent to the home after a report of a burn victim.

Northeast District police Lt. Karen Healy and Officers Barbara Lark and Leona Flowers began investigating Berg's injuries and requested the assistance of the Homicide Unit.

That investigation was led by Detective Sgt. David M. Lillis and Detectives Michael A. Mordino, Michael Acquino, Judge and Walsh, assisted by Fire Marshal James O'Neill.


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