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N.J. Arson Leads to Murder Charges

June 27, 2002

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UNION CITY, N.J. (AP) _ Two men were charged with attempted murder and arson for allegedly setting a series of fires that destroyed 10 New Jersey homes and left 200 people homeless.

Raymond Hayde, 39, and Raphael Vasquez, 20, both of Union City, were arrested Wednesday and charged with 13 counts of attempted murder and several counts each of aggravated arson. A third suspect, Eyismery Ocanto, 21, was charged with aggravated arson earlier this year.

The blazes began on Dec. 2, what residents of this heavily Hispanic community call ``hell night.″

Three major fires broke out within 45 minutes of each other in the same area, with the worst gutting four buildings that contained apartments, a bar and several businesses. Six people were injured in the fires that night, including two children who suffered burns.

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