Having failed to kill himself, Mohamed Abdul Jabar is now sitting in a hospital bed suffering from burns and waiting to face charges that include assault with intent to murder and arson.
The six-alarm fire that followed destroyed some of the buildings near the corner of Westminster Avenue and Wardman Road and severely damaged others.
Scores of people were left homeless, including Melonie Miller, who lived in the building next to Jabar’s relative.
Miller, an 11-year resident of the complex, was able to make it outside through a back exit with her two young children.
“To self-destruct an apartment building, to take other people’s lives … that’s not normal,” Miller said yesterday while standing outside the damaged remains of her home. She’s staying with her mother who also lives in Roxbury.
Jabar went to Boston Medical Center with burns and “made statements” before being arrested, according to fire officials. He was taken to Massachusetts General Hospital for treatment of second-degree burns.
About 13 people, including two firefighters and a police officer, were transported to hospitals for injuries. Most of the residents were treated for smoke inhalation, according to fire officials.
Steve MacDonald, a fire department spokesman, said firefighters rescued dozens of people who were trapped on the third-story of the homes because some stairways and exit ways were blocked by debris of smoke and flames.
During one rescue, a woman dropped her 6-year-old grandson from the third story into the arms of firefighters. Lt. Glenn McGillivray caught the boy.
Officials from Urban Edge, which manages the affordable housing properties, said 18 units were damaged and engineers were assessing the structures.