A fire ripped through a Dix Hills, New York, home owned by rapper 50 Cent early Friday morning (May 30), completely gutting the house and sending six people — among them, the rapper's 10-year-old son, Marquise, and the child's mother, 50's ex-girlfriend Shaniqua Tompkins — to the hospital for smoke inhalation. Both were treated and released.
The fire broke out at about 5 a.m., according to fire officials, and it took personnel from five departments to get the conflagration under control.
Dix Hills Fire Department Chief Larry Feld told MTV News the blaze was "definitely suspicious." When pressed for details, Feld said, "I would say there is a strong possibility that it is suspicious because of the rapid movement of the fire, the volume of the fire that we had upon arrival, and the intensity. When I arrived — and I got there early — the whole first floor and second floor was engulfed, and the home was totally gutted.
"Let's put it this way," he continued, "this wasn't your ordinary fire."
A statement released Friday by 50's rep reads: "Informed this morning while filming a new motion picture on location in Louisiana, [50 Cent] expressed deep concern over this fire at his property. He is extremely thankful that everyone including his son, Marquise, 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."
Feld said arson investigators were called out to the scene, and will be looking into what caused the inferno. He said 50 Cent is not a suspect at this time.
However, on Friday afternoon, TMZ.com posted a video clip showing Tompkins surrounded by a crush of news cameras and reporters as she lashes out at 50 Cent, describing him as "obsessed" with her and claiming that he'd recently threatened her life.
"If he can't have me, no one can," Tompkins said. "He said that he was going to have someone come kill me, and see what he does. This is what he did." The site also reported that Paul Catsandonis, a lawyer for Tompkins, said Friday that Tompkins heard "someone" come into the house approximately an hour before the fire broke out.
Brett Kimmel, an attorney for 50 Cent, said Tompkins' allegations are untrue, and that "any suggestion that  had anything whatsoever to do with the fire at his home is outrageous and offensive."
Tompkins also claimed the rapper has made no effort to contact his son: "He has made no contact to even see how his son is doing."
The rapper's son and his mother had been living in the house, and one eyewitness told Newsday that Tompkins was seen standing outside the home — barefoot, in a bathrobe — watching as the flames consumed the residence.
Early last month, 50 Cent attempted to evict Tompkins and Marquise from the home unless she began paying him rent, Kimmel told MTV News on Friday. Suffolk County Housing Court Judge Stephen Hackeling granted 50's motion to evict, Kimmel said, and gave Tompkins until April 30 to vacate the premises. Tompkins — who has claimed 50 bought the house for her and Marquise — retaliated, filing a lawsuit against 50 Cent in Manhattan's State Supreme Court. The judge in that case temporarily stayed Hackeling's decision, pending further discovery into the allegations in her suit; the ruling allowed Tompkins and her son to remain in the house. Kimmel said he has filed a motion to lift the stay, which will be heard June 10.
Tompkins' suit, for breach of contract and unjust enrichment, claims the rapper promised to put all or part of the house in her name, according to Newsday. 50 Cent purchased the home in January 2007 for a reported $1.4 million; it's reportedly one of the largest dwellings in Dix Hills.
TMZ.com reported Friday that, earlier this week, following a long day of depositions at Tompkins' attorney's office, someone in 50 Cent's entourage "trashed" the office. A police report was filed, but no charges were brought.
The news follows on the heels of the arrest earlier this week of one of 50's employees. According to Newsday, 27-year-old Dwayne McKenzie was arrested on Tuesday at the rapper's Farmington, Connecticut, home. According to police, McKenzie choked a woman and struck her with a belt during an argument on 50's property, and was charged with assault, strangulation, breach of peace and unlawful restraint.
[This story was originally published at 12:04 pm E.T. on 5.30.2008]