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Victims Identified in Fatal Fire in New Carrollton

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The remnants of an apartment building where two people died in a 'suspicious' fire. (credit: John Domen/All-News 99.1 WNEW)

The remnants of an apartment building where two people died in a ‘suspicious’ fire. (credit: John Domen/All-News 99.1 WNEW)

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NEW CARROLLTON, Md. (CBSDC/AP) — Prince George’s County police have identified the two victims in Sunday night’s arson in New Carrollton.

County police said 45-year-old John Michael Abbate of the 7600 block of Fontainebleau Drive in New Carrollton and 53-year-old Tanya Winston of the 8600 block of Leslie Avenue in Glenarden were the two victims in the blaze that Anthony Andre Allain allegedly started in his third-story apartment.

Allain, 44, of 7602 Fountainebleau Drive in New Carrollton, is in custody and has been charged with two counts of murder and one count of first-degree arson, county police announced at a news conference Monday afternoon.

Police received a call about 7:45 p.m. Sunday that Allain barricaded himself and others inside a third-story apartment in the 7600 block of Fountainebleau Drive before setting it on fire.

Police said Winston jumped from the 40-foot balcony and suffered serious injuries to her upper body. She was taken to the hospital and pronounced dead a short time later. The medical examiner ruled on Monday that she died of internal injuries from the fall, police said.

Abbate never was able to get off the balcony.

“It just looked like the fear took him,” said one resident. “When they tried to tell him to jump, he tried. And after he tried it looked like his nerves took over everything and he just couldn’t do it.”

Residents outside the building said they could hear Abbate scream as the blaze reached the interior of the apartment. His body was later discovered by firefighters and the medical examiner ruled Monday that he died from injuries sustained in the fire.

Allain escaped the burning building and fled to the basement of a nearby apartment building where police later arrested him. He was taken to a local hospital and is being treated for non-life threatening burns, police said.

The murder and arson charges are pending his extradition to Prince George’s County from the District. It wasn’t immediately known whether he had a lawyer.

County homicide detectives are working to confirm the victims’ identifications.

The apartment is affiliated with a nonprofit group that helps find housing for the mentally disabled, according to police. They said Allain and another person had an argument before the fire.

The Prince George’s County Fire Department is conducting its own investigation into the fire and has estimated damages at $200,000 to the building and contents.

Officials believe about 50 residents will be displaced because of the fire.

WNEW’s John Domen and Kevin Rincon contributed to this report. Follow WNEW on Twitter.

(TM and Copyright 2013 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2012 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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