A grand jury has indicted a man in connection with a Lackawanna arson last spring that sent seven people to the hospital.
Corey Green, 20, was arraigned Tuesday on four counts of first-degree arson in Erie County Court and he pleaded not guilty to intentionally setting fire to 97 Ingham Ave., with nearly 20 people inside. The April 22 fire displaced four families of immigrants from a four-unit building.
Four of the seven – a mother, father and two children – suffered serious injuries. Zaid Soliman, 3, suffered third-degree burns to his legs and arm; then-4-year-old Zainab Soliman, suffered a collapsed lung and cuts to her face; Khaled Soliman, 29, suffered spine and foot injuries after jumping from a second-floor window while cradling his daughter; and Claudia Chamo Soliman, 28, who spent a month in a medically induced coma after suffering burns and undergoing surgery to her trachea.
The family's youngest child -- then-6-month-old Tasneem -- suffered smoke inhalation. She was dropped from the second floor into the arms of a waiting neighbor outside as the family tried to escape the burning apartment.
Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn Jr. declined to comment on Green's potential motive.
Judge Michael Pietruszka ordered Green held without bail.
"I'm relieved that he's off the street," said Yaser Soliman, whose brother, sister-in-law, niece and nephew were injured.
Green, who has addresses in both Lackawanna and Buffalo, has been in custody since he was arrested Dec. 13 in Lackawanna, Flynn said. When he was arraigned in Lackawanna City Court in December, bail was set at $500,000.
This wasn't the first suspicious fire at the apartment building, which is owned by Lackawanna Islamic Mosque and is one of six residences in Lackawanna the mosque owns and uses to provide housing to newly arrived immigrants. At 2:34 a.m. April 7, someone set a telephone book on fire on the front porch, Lackawanna fire officials have said.
In the April 22 fire, the two families in the lower apartments were able to escape the building. The family with four children who lived in the upper-front apartment climbed onto the porch roof and had to be rescued by firefighters.
The Soliman family, who lived in the upper rear apartment, was trapped by the flames. Firefighters were able to find and rescue Claudia Chamo Soliman and Zaid Soliman from inside the burning building.
Khaled Soliman, who suffered a fractured spine and a broken foot, remains in a wheelchair, his brother, Yaser Soliman, said.
In May, leaders of Lackawanna's Muslim community offered a $10,000 reward for information in the case.
The reward "was extremely helpful" in apprehending Green, Flynn said.
Eleven Lackawanna firefighters were honored in May for their work rescuing the fire victims.