NEW LONDON, Conn. — A woman is dead following a fire at a New London home, and officials have taken a suspect accused of arson and homicide into custody.
The fire was reported at a home on Sherman Street around 10:30 p.m. Wednesday night. Officials said there were no reports that anyone was trapped at the time.
When fire crews arrived, they found fire on the first and second floors. As crews walked around the home, they found a 23-year-old man, later identified as George Dodson of New London, at the back of the home.
Crews then learned that others might be trapped inside and firefighters entered the home where they found a woman. Crews continued searching the home and found a 1-year-old baby trapped in a second-floor room.
Officials said that at the time, fire crews knew the scene may be a crime scene and contacted police.
The woman was pronounced dead at the scene. She has not been identified at this time.
"Any life loss, one life lost is just one too many and this is a tragic event within the New London community," Capt. Matt Galante of the New London Police Department told FOX61.
The baby was taken to a local hospital for treatment before being transferred to Yale New Haven Hospital. Officials said the baby is doing "OK."
A neighbor whose dad called 911 did not want to be identified on camera.
"It was all like flames were on the inside of the house. It was huge. Like something I'd only seen in movies," said the neighbor.
While at the scene, Dodson admitted to a paramedic and later to police that he killed the woman "with a hammer" and set the house on fire, knowing the baby was upstairs, according to the arrest warrant.
"I did this, I killed her," he reportedly told the paramedic.
When police questioned why, Dodson said "jealousy," resulting from establishing an open relationship with the woman.
"She found another man she loved more and I could not stand the thought of it so I killed her," Dodson allegedly told police.
He then proceeded to tell police he lit "a couple of places on fire." Dodson added that he set the fire to try to kill the baby rather than using a hammer or knife, according to the arrest warrant.
Police said they are investigating the incident as a homicide and have taken Dodson into custody. He was also taken to an area hospital for his injuries. He is also on suicide and mental health watch, officials said.
Dodson faces multiple police charges, including murder, criminal attempt to commit murder, criminal attempt to commit arson murder, arson, risk of injury to a minor, tampering with evidence, reckless endangerment, and cruelty to animals.
He was held on a $3 million bond and appeared in court Thursday. Police said he is cooperative with the investigation. He is in the U.S. Navy, FOX61 confirmed.
The New London Police Department took over the investigation with assistance from the Connecticut Major Crimes Unit, New London State's Attorney Office, and the New London and state fire marshals' offices.
Officials said that the incident was domestic and not a random act.
Jennifer Glatz is a digital content producer at FOX61 News. She can be reached at email@example.com.
Have a story idea or something on your mind you want to share? We want to hear from you! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org
HERE ARE MORE WAYS TO GET FOX61 NEWS
Download the FOX61 News APP
iTunes: Click here to download
Google Play: Click here to download
Stream Live on ROKU: Add the channel from the ROKU store or by searching FOX61.
Steam Live on FIRE TV: Search ‘FOX61’ and click ‘Get’ to download.