05/27/2010 // West Palm Beach, FL, USA // Tara Monks // Tara Monks
Baltimore, MD – A firefighter who was injured during a rescue operation in West Baltimore will testify against the 19-year-old woman who is accused of setting an apartment complex on fire in April, as reported by The Baltimore Sun. The woman will be arraigned on charges of first-degree arson on Thursday, May 27, 2010.
Jeff Novack spent over a month in the hospital, including two weeks at Maryland Shock Trauma Center, and remains in a wheelchair. He suffered second-degree burns on his arms, along with a broken shoulder and hip after he fell three stories to a cement walkway.
The incident that led to Novack’s injury began when 19-year-old Garcia became enraged after discovering the father of her son with another woman. She reportedly broke the window of his apartment and told him, “there’s a fire in your house now,” according to court documents.
The fire spread through the apartment building. Jeff was one of the first to respond to the reports of fire, and ran into the building before a fire engine crew had even set up hoses. He carried an 86-year-old woman to safety, and returned to the scene to help others who were stuck in the fire.
Novack was struggling with a hysterical man in a stairwell when a wall of fire came barreling down the steps. He dashed into an open apartment and became separated from his fellow firefighter who was also attempting to help the man. He became trapped inside the room and was forced to exit through the third floor window.
The elderly woman trapped in the building and the man in the hallway survived the fire.
Novack is expected to make a full recovery, and to leave his wheelchair by Independence Day. He stated that he hopes his testimony will deter anyone contemplating arson from going through with it. He explained, “She wanted to hurt one person, but she ended up hurting many more.”
First-degree arson is a felony in Maryland and carries a penalty of up to a 30 year sentence in prison, according to a Baltimore State’s Attorney spokeswoman.
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