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Queensbridge woman set on fire: Police

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A Brooklyn man was arrested in his hospital bed after allegedly dousing his girlfriend with gasoline and setting her on fire in her Queensbridge Houses apartment Sunday morning, police said.

Khenan Clarke, 25, of 555 Ocean Ave. in Brooklyn, was charged by police with attempted murder, assault, arson, reckless endangerment, endangering the welfare of a child and criminal mischief. He was still hospitalized Tuesday night and had not yet been arraigned.

At 11:02 a.m. Sunday, police and the city Fire Department received calls of a fire at 40-12 Vernon Blvd. There they found fire around the apartment door and rescued two children inside, Fire Department officials said.

Clarke and a 22-year-old woman both suffered moderate burns, police said. He was taken to Harlem Medical Center with burns on his hands and legs, police said, while the woman was taken to Weill Cornell Hospital in Manhattan with burns to her upper body.

The two children were taken to Elmhurst Hospital Center and treated for smoke inhalation, police said. An elderly woman who lived next door was also taken to Weill Cornell and treated for smoke inhalation, authorities said.

A neighbor said in a video interview with a journalist from the Queensbridge Houses that Clarke pounded on the door of the sixth-floor apartment, but left when the woman would not let him in. He returned later with a large, red gas can, the neighbor said.

Clarke then allegedly lit the hallway on fire to prevent the woman’s escape before knocking on her door again and dousing her with the fuel when she opened it, the New York Post reported, quoting officials speaking on condition of anonymity. Clark ran to the roof where first responders found her, the Post reported. Clarke suffered his injuries when he slipped on the stairs and spilled gasoline on himself, the neighbor said.

Clarke’s MySpace.com profile contains a photograph of his young son and the quote, “Women are like apples on trees. They are all living at the top of the tree. The men don’t want to climb for them and endanger their lives and sacrifice their money, time and sanity on the way to the top only to find out the ones at the top were half-eaten by crows and are full of worms & bugs.”

Reach reporter Jeremy Walsh by e-mail at jewalsh@cnglocal.com or by phone at 718-229-0300, Ext. 154.

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