The massive explosion that blew out the front of a Borough Park apartment building on October 3rd—killing two woman and injuring thirteen other tenants and pedestrians—has been ruled an arson by the FDNY.
The Fire Department has also confirmed that Francisca Figueroa, a 48-year-old tenant who died in the explosion, was responsible for the deadly blaze. She used gasoline to spark the flames, trailing the liquid across her apartment and along the adjacent hallway.
Initial reports suggested that the explosion had been caused by a gas leak, from a stove that had been disconnected from its hookup inside Figueroa's apartment.
"Information obtained since then, and confirmed by examination of the building gas meters, found that there was no natural gas flowing to the second floor apartment since June 26," said Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro in a statement a week after the incident.
Figueroa, who was in the process of being evicted from her apartment when she set off the blaze, reportedly posted "suicidal thoughts" on social media soon before her death. A spokesman for the department confirmed that her motive is still under investigation.
The explosion took place at 4206 13th Avenue near 42nd Street, around 1:00 p.m. on Saturday October 3rd. The building contained a ground floor hardware and electronics store called Pots N Watts, and two stories of apartments.
Ligia Puello, a 64-year-old tenant on the third floor, was found dead in the building's stairwell. Three other people—a 34-year-old father and his 9-year-old child, and a 27-year-old man—were briefly hospitalized. The other victims, including pedestrians struck by falling debris, suffered minor injuries.