Teen Set On Fire

POSTED: Wednesday, August 19, 2009 - 8:34am

UPDATED: Wednesday, February 17, 2010 - 3:24pm

Joke Gone Bad...

On Saturday night the stretch of Mermaid Avenue in Wantagh on Long Island was packed with people for a summer block party.

"This is the first one we had and we had nothing crazy going on,” said neighbor Terry Fuimeferddo.

But things did turn crazy and police say 17 year old Arthur Villatore is to blame.

He allegedly lit another teen on fire.

"At the end of the evening they were in the yard of their friend's house, talking around the fire," said Nassau County Police Lieutenant Howard Sullivan.

Then police say Villatore grabbed a bottle of lighter fluid doused the other teen's back, and legs with the liquid.

Sprayed the liquid into a fire pit. The fire then shot back, turning the bottle into a torch.

That's when he pointed the bottle at the victim setting him on fire.

"The victim dropped to the ground, rolled, remove, his clothing...at the scene," said Sullivan.

"I'm shocked. I hope the kid is okay," said neighbor Karen Bennett.

The reason why most residents didn't hear about it is because police never responded to the home.

The homeowner, a parent of one of the kids grabbed a hose and started to put out the fire-then rushed the injured teen to Nassau University Medical Center.

"The victim has 2nd degree and 3rd degree burns over 6 percent of his body," said Sullivan.

Police arrested Villatore.

At his home in Wantagh relatives did not want to speak about what happened Saturday night.

Villatore will be tried as an adult.

He's charged with reckless assault because police say he meant to only light the victims clothes on fire.

A practical joke that's ending with skin graft surgery for his friend.

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