NEW YORK – A Manhattan financier upset with his wife tried to blow up his multi-million dollar brownstone in an apparent suicide attempt, according to authorities.
According to CBS New York, police said 52-year-old Charles Welsh cut a gas line to his nearly $5 million home at 143 West 94th Street just after 10:30 p.m. Thursday.
“There was a flex pipe, a gas pipe, going into the apartment. He cut that, at one point gas started coming into the apartment at which point he was planning on sitting there and expiring,” said Chief of Detectives Robert Boyce. “This was a suicide attempt by this male. He clearly admits to that later on at the hospital.”
Once he cut the gas line, Welsh panicked.
“Gas filled the room and he ran out,” Boyce said.
There was a small explosion and fire that was brought under control in an hour. But the blast damaged the basement and knocked out an entire back wall of one floor of the home.
Neighbors saw Welsh outside in his pajamas right after the explosion.
“I said, ‘Charles are you OK? We gotta call 911.’ I think all he said was, ‘Yeah we have to,'” neighbor Fred Valle told CBS New York. “And then he came downstairs but he didn’t say a word. He just stood there by the main entrance until the police came.”
Valle told CBS New York that Welsh’s wife left for France with their four kids on Thursday. The night before, the family had a Christmas party.
“Quiet, very quiet. You could hardly tell they were out there,” Valle said.
Welsh suffered minor burns to his legs and was treated at St. Luke’s Hospital.
No other injuries were reported, but neighbors say they’re lucky to be alive.
“Poor thing, but that’s kind of selfish, right? He could have taken us all away too,” said neighbor Juan Sanguinetti.
Police describe Welsh as emotionally disturbed and is undergoing a psychiatric evaluation.
He’s facing charges of assault, reckless endangerment and arson.