A multimillion-dollar Long Island home at the center of a dispute between Grammy-nominated rapper 50 Cent and his former girlfriend was destroyed by a suspicious fire early Friday.
Six people, including 50’s ex-girlfriend Shaniqua Tompkins and their 10-year-old son, Marquis, were taken to a hospital after suffering smoke inhalation and later released. A firefighter also suffered a minor eye injury, officials said.
50, whose real name is Curtis Jackson, doesn’t live in the home and wasn’t there at the time.
“Informed this morning while filming a new motion picture on location in Louisiana, Curtis Jackson expressed deep concern over this fire at his property,” a representative for 50 said in a statement. “He is extremely thankful that everyone including his son, Marquis, escaped the burning house safely. He is confident that authorities will be conducting a thorough investigation of the incident and is eager to review their findings.”
The home was essentially burned to the ground, with charred embers and wreckage littering the lot where the home once stood in the tree-lined neighborhood in Dix Hills.
Investigators from the Suffolk County arson squad were called to the scene after Dix Hills Fire Chief Larry Feld deemed the blaze suspicious. The fire was reported about 5 a.m. and extinguished about 45 minutes later, Feld said.
The arson squad had finished its work at the scene six hours after the blaze.
He referred the case to the arson squad “because of the intensity of the fire, and also being that who belongs to the house.”
Police said the victims included the rapper’s former girlfriend Shaniqua Tompkins and two of her children, including a son fathered by 50 Cent named Marquise. Three other adults in the home weren’t immediately identified.
A passing off-duty police officer helped rescue the six people off an elevated deck in the home’s backyard, Feld said.
The home has been the subject of an intense feud between 50 and Tompkins.
Tompkins filed a lawsuit against 50 earlier this year claiming he had promised her a house more than a decade ago, but that since their breakup, he now wants to evict her and their 10-year-old son from the home.
Tompkins’ lawyer, Paul Catsandonis, told The Associated Press in a telephone interview that the dispute over the house had become “extremely, extremely contentious” in recent days. Although he declined to be specific, he said there was an “extremely dangerous incident” Monday in his Manhattan office while taking a deposition for the lawsuit.
The dispute was “involving the parties in question,” he said.
He said the case was back on the calendar in state Supreme Court in Manhattan on June 10.
Catsandonis said the 31-year-old rapper paid about $2.4 million for the house last year, one of the largest in the Long Island neighborhood of Dix Hills. He said 50, who grew up surrounded by violence and was once shot outside his grandmother’s Queens home in 2000, had told the 32-year-old Tompkins that he wanted her and their son to live in a safe and secure place.
He also contended the rapper signed an agreement that would give Tompkins half of all his earnings as a hip-hop superstar. “Everything that’s his is hers, everything that’s hers is his. He memorialized in an e-mail that he intended to give her the house.”
50 has been nominated for 13 Grammys, including nominations for the song “In da Club” and the album “Get Rich or Die Tryin’.” In 2005, he starred with Terrence Howard in a semi-autobiographical movie based on that album.