By Greg Hanlon
In a strange and tragic incident on February 1, a Brooklyn man lit a portion of his apartment on fire, causing injuries to his brother that eventually led to his brother’s death, according to a criminal court complaint filed by the District Attorney’s office. According to the testimony of the mother of the two brothers, who lived with them at 1601 65th Street, Artem Remezov, 29, splashed rubbing alcohol on the floors and walls of the apartment and lit the flammable liquid with a cigarette lighter. At this point, the victim’s brother, Artur Remezov, 23, tried to extinguish the fire, leading to a fight that left both men burned. Artem sustained burns on his hands and arm, while Artur suffered third degree burns over more than half his body, according to the District Attorney. The report states that before he ignited the alcohol, Artem told both his brother and mother, “Heath Ledger died, you both die too,” referring to the famous actor who died in last month. According to David Nabatov, a friend of both brothers, Artem started the fire after coming home from a night of heavy drinking. “He was a sweet, outgoing, very loving person, but he had a drinking problem,” Nabatov said. “That night he drank too much and he got violent, which is only caused through alcohol.” Both men were taken to the burn unit of Staten Island University North Hospital, where Artur died nearly three weeks later as a result of his burns. Artem was arrested shortly after arriving at the hospital. He faces multiple charges of attempted murder, arson and reckless endangerment. According to the District Attorney’s office, the question of whether the charges will be upgraded in the wake of Artur’s death is being investigated. Artem is still being treated for his wounds, but is in stable condition and is fully cognizant, according to his lawyer, Igor Niman. He is under police surveillance while he recovers. According to Nabatov, there were few troubling signs from Artem that might have predicted such an incident. Nabatov described Artem – a native of Kiev, Ukraine – as a kind, hardworking young man who served as the sole provider for his brother and mother. “He always enjoyed helping people. He was always very kind. He was always there for people in a time of need. I am shocked that this happened. I would have never expected this,” Nabatov said. Artem worked in the Empire State Building as an operator for NY Skyride, a virtual aerial tour of New York. Michael Leeb, his supervisor at Skyride Multimedia Entertainment, the management company that operates the ride, said Skyride had no comment on the incident. Regarding his drinking, Nabatov said that Artem “was always a party animal, but not in a bad way. In a good way – he was always laughing and having a good time.” Niman, Artem’s lawyer, said Artem plans on pleading not guilty to the charges filed against him. “He clearly did not have an intention to burn his brother. It was not premeditated,” Niman said. Niman said that Artem “is extremely depressed about what happened. It was his brother – he used to support him completely, financially and otherwise.” Nabatov said Artur had begun to turn his life around after a turbulent adolescence. “He was doing very well for himself. It’s tragic, because he was on the right track,” Nabatov said.