Authorities believe 5-year-old Jay "Tito" Morales set fire to his grandmother's apartment in an act of revenge, because she wouldn't let him go to the park. Now the child is in critical condition after suffering third-degree burns over 70-90% of his body.
Morales' grandmother Nancy Herrera often baby-sat him in her Bushwick home on Knickerbocker Avenue. Described as strict, Herrera apparently punished Jay after a stunt where he called 911 and said she had died--only for the EMTs to arrive with Herrera safe and sound. A neighbor told WABC 7 Jay was angry over not being allowed out, saying he would "kill" his grandmother, "He said, 'I'm going to burn the house down when you leave.' But I didn't take it seriously.''
Jay used a lighter to set fire to some curtains, which quickly caught fire. His grandmother tried to save him, but the heat and flames prevented her from reaching him--even a firefighter said the heat stopped him for a moment before reaching the child. Another neighbor told the Daily News he saw Herrera by the front door, "She kept yelling, 'My grandson is inside.' There was too much smoke, so I just grabbed her by her clothes and pulled her out of the house."
Herrera suffered only minor injuries and other family members were by the child's side at New York Presbyterian Hospital Cornell Weill's burn unit.