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Atlantic Beach man charged in arson

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Pasquale Preziosa was charged with arson and other crimes after lighting an Erie Avenue house on fire in Atlantic Beach on Nov. 19, Nassau police said.

Originally, police responded to what they called a disturbance at the home at 10:20 p.m. on Nov. 18. Preziosa, 53, had sent threatening text messages to family members saying that he intended to hurt himself, according to police.

When police responded, Preziosa refused to leave the house. Police said he “made several threats, including harming officers," and tried to force the police to shoot him.  The Nassau County Emergency Service Unit, Bureau of Special Operations and Hostage Negotiation Team were then called to the scene.

At 1:20 a.m., police spotted flames shooting from the home’s second floor, and fire spread across that portion of the house. Preziosa refused to leave again, and ESU and firefighters entered the house and found the semi-conscious Preziosa in the basement of the rented house.

Outside the house, he was treated and arrested, and then taken to a local hospital for assessment and treatment for smoke inhalation. The fire was brought under control within two hours, according to Long Beach fire officials. The Nassau County fire marshal and the police Arson/Bomb Squad also responded. The investigation is ongoing.

Preziosa was charged with second-degree arson, two counts of second-degree criminal mischief,  second-degree aggravated harassment and second-degree menacing. He will be arraigned when medically practical, police said. A friend of the family said that Preziosa  is in the intensive care unit of an area hospital.

Along with Long Beach, the Island Park, Inwood,  Lawrence-Cedarhurst and Point Lookout fire departments responded. About eight fire trucks and 60 firefighters were at the scene. No firefighters were injured.