Schenectady County

Schenectady man pleads guilty to setting fire in Broadway apartment in 2009

Kendo George argued with his girlfriend, then he started trashing her apartment on Broadway in Schen

Kendo George argued with his girlfriend, then he started trashing her apartment on Broadway in Schenectady.

Then the place caught fire.

George, 26, of Schenectady pleaded guilty Wednesday to one count of maliciously destroying a building.

In return for his plea, George faces a maximum of 20 years in federal prison, though the plea agreement suggests he will receive five years. The final sentence is to be determined by the federal judge.

George was indicted federally in October accused of intentionally setting fire at 1520-1522 Broadway Sept. 28, 2009.

In all, 11 adults and three children lived in the building and two neighboring buildings, officials have said. No residents were hurt in the fire, though a firefighter suffered minor burns.

Authorities hadn’t previously described how the fire started. Wednesday’s plea agreement, though, includes George’s account.

George admitted to authorities he was there, at his girlfriend’s apartment at about 2 a.m. that morning. After an argument, he started trashing the place, including flipping over furniture.

He then reported seeing smoke and flames coming out of the television, prior to leaving the apartment, according to the agreement.

George admitted he “maliciously damaged or destroyed” the property by means of fire.

Sentencing is set for September.

The blaze itself led to the shutdown of Broadway for that morning’s commute.

Several pets were inside, and at least one was rescued. A cat, with half its fur singed off, was taken from a second-floor window to safety by a firefighter on a ladder.

Firefighters responded to the scene around 3:30 a.m. for a report of smoke. Shortly after they arrived, the smoke turned into flames, with heat and fire damaging neighboring apartment houses at 1516-1518 and 1524-1526 Broadway.

Helping with the investigation into the fire was a task force of members of the city Police Department, federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives; and a relatively new fire investigation unit within the city Fire Department, city fire Capt. Doug Faulisi has said. They also worked with the state Office of Fire Prevention and Control.

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