PITTSBURGH - Pittsburgh police have charged two people in connection with a fatal fire that killed three people including a 4-year-old girl.
Channel 11 is learning new details about the arrests of Martell Smith and Taisia Malloy. Smith is charged with the homicides of 4-year-old Chy'enne Manning, Shamira Staten, and Sandra Lynn Carter Douglas.
The three died in a house fire on Bennett Street in Homewood.
Detectives say Smith set the home on fire. Malloy is also charged with arson.
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE SUSPECTS
Investigators said Martell Smith, 41, faces three counts of criminal homicide, several related arson charges and narcotics charges.
Tiasia Malloy, 26, was also arrested in connection with the arson, investigators said. Malloy is charged with aggravated assault on an officer.
Channel 11 has learned that investigators believe the fire was allegedly set in retaliation after a fight at The Spot Bar in Penn Hills early Wednesday morning. Smith got into a fight with another man, according to police, and allegedly came to the house to retaliate, even though that man wasn't even at home.
According to court documents, when Martell Smith and Tiasia Malloy were arrested, they smelled of gasoline. In those same documents, it says Smith watched the house burn and told witnesses, "They made me do it."
The documents also reveal Smith was captured on surveillance video, and Facebook Live, buying gasoline from a Sunoco. A clerk there told Channel 11 Smith is a frequent customer.
Both Smith and Malloy are in the Allegheny County Jail.
BREAKING: we just got the mugshots for Martell Smith & Tiasia Malloy charged in the Homewood deadly fire. Martell is charged with the homicide of 2 women and a little girl. @WPXI https://t.co/1cVSclXpne pic.twitter.com/spHyDelktq— Gabriella DeLuca (@GabriellaDeLuca) December 21, 2017
"We are glad to hold him responsible for his actions, but it will not bring back those who were lost," said Pittsburgh police commander Victor Joseph. "It's a sad day for the city of Pittsburgh."
Police do not know why the pair remained at the scene of the fire.
WHAT WE KNOW ABOUT THE VICTIMS
Two women and a 4-year-old girl in the home died. The fire was so intense that it caused parts of the roof to collapse, and, at times, the home could not be seen through the flames and heavy smoke.
The Allegheny County Medical Examiner's Office identified the victims as Chy'enne Manning, 4, Shamira Staten, 21, and Sandra Carter, 58.
Neighbors are remembering the lives lost.
“It’s just devastating,” neighbor Carla Smith said. “You see them in the summer playing.”
WITNESSES DESCRIBE THE TRAGIC SCENE
An inferno of flames and a man’s screams woke Andre Simon early Wednesday morning on Bennett Street in Homewood South.
“You look out the window, you see the complete front porch on fire,” Simon said. “He was screaming very loud. You know something was happening.”
Simon said he looked out the window around 2:30 a.m. and saw a man on a secondary roof of the three-story home next door jumping off – luckily, that man survived. He was taken to a hospital with a leg injury.
“It doesn’t matter who you are, that should not happen to a family,” Simon said. “It’s so sad.”
Simon said he had to evacuate three Airbnb guests from his home just in case the fire spread.
All that remains now is charred debris and two roses someone left in tribute.
“Fires this time of year are especially hard, especially for the first responders who arrived. The firefighters and paramedics are obviously shaken up, especially with an infant child involved in this fire,” Pittsburgh Public Safety Director Wendell Hissrich said.
The property owner told Channel 11 the three people who died were not residents of the home.
“This is a horrible tragedy. My thoughts and prayers go out to the families during this time—especially before Christmas," the property owner said.
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