Radisson resident charged with arson

A pregnant mother and her two children, ages 1 and 2, narrowly escaped a fire last week that officials suspect was started by her downstairs neighbor.

Due to flames within the building and her inability to access the stairs, Amanda Evankovich was forced to toss her children out the second story window to neighbors, who safely caught the babies. She then hung from the window of the burning building and dropped to the ground where neighbors helped to break her fall.

Another unidentified man jumped from the second story building injuring his ankle.

The fire broke out Friday morning at the Woodsboro Drive cul-de-sac in Radisson. Belgium-Cold Springs Fire Chief Chris Evans said an upstairs resident called the fire in. Firefighters arrived to flames and smoke coming from the building and quickly attacked the fire.

State police have said the fire was intentionally started and have charged Chester Cooper Jr. of 8592 Woodsboro Drive with second degree arson. Cooper was arraigned in Lysander town court and is being held in the Onondaga County Justice Center.

Everyone in the six-unit apartment made it out of the burning building alive. Cooper's apartment had extensive fire damage. Other apartments sustained smoke and water damage.

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