Connecticut kid cries while denying being bully who set fire to neighbor

The Connecticut kid accused of setting his 6-year-old neighbor on fire broke down in tears as he recalled being shunned by close friends who feared he was a violent bully.

Stefano Giacobbe, 8, was accused nearly two months ago of deliberately torching Dominick Krankall — until a newly surfaced video showed them playing together before the youngster accidentally went up in flames.

Stefano — who was seen desperately trying to put out the flames in the April footage — burst into tears when pressed by a DailyMail.com videographer about the backlash he received.

He used his hoodie to wipe away tears as he recalled getting shunned by close friends when he tried to play with them.

“They told me to get away from the house and don’t light me on fire,” he told the outlet, at one point completely covering his face as he sobbed, saying he was “saddened” by the incident that left his young neighbor with horrific second- and third-degree burns.

Newly released footage shows the boys playing with a soccer ball before Dominick Krankall was engulfed by a fire.
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Bridgeport boy on fire
Footage from a newly released video.
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Bridgeport boy on fire
Footage showed the boys playing together.
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As he cried, his mother, Laura Giacobbe, 45, denounced how her son had been effectively canceled by other kids after being accused of deliberately throwing a flaming ball at his neighbor.

“He lost friends that were very close to him. And he loved them like his own brother,” she told the videographer from her Bridgeport yard where the accident happened.

 Laura Giacobbe
Laura Giacobbe accused Dominick’s mom of “defamation of character.”
Matthew McDermott

“To have him go through this every day, being accused as a bully, is not fair — because he’s not a bully,” she insisted.

Giacobbe on Tuesday told The Post that she wanted the burned boy’s mom — her former neighbor Maria Rua — arrested for putting her son “through hell,” saying the bullying claims even led to death threats and the need for a police car outside her home for protection.

She also angrily blamed Rua of neglecting to look out for the kids at the time, which she insisted she had promised to do.

Dominic Krankall
Dominick was left badly burned after the incident.
GoFundMe
dominick krankall
Giacobbe said her former neighbor Rua had agreed to watch the boys.
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“Her child got to go to Yankee Stadium while my child sat inside in fear because of all the statements made against him,” Giacobbe told The Post.

“I want her to get arrested because I don’t think it’s fair. It’s defamation of character,” Giacobbe continued. “She slandered my family. She put my son through hell. She put me in hell. I want her arrested for false statements.”

The video, released Friday, showed four children, including Dominick and Stefano, lighting fires and kicking a flaming soccer ball in the backyard together.

Dominick Krankall
Dominick is “healing and in good spirits,” his mom said.
GoFundMe

Nothing in the video shows the other boys targeting Dominick, who caught fire after either kicking or stepping on a plastic cup filled with gasoline that was in flames.

Bridgeport police also confirmed there was no evidence of foul play.

“There is nothing on the video portraying any of the children deliberately injuring the other,” the force said.

Still, Rua stood by her “son’s story,” calling Giacobbe a “liar” and a “narcissist.”

Bridgeport boy burned
Bridgeport police confirmed there was no evidence of foul play in the fire.
WFSB

“My son is not a liar,” she told The Post, suggesting the video had been edited.

Rua told the Mail her son is home and “healing and in good spirits.”

She also confirmed that she will use the nearly $600,000 raised on a controversial GoFundMe to buy a new home.

“Dominick is so excited to have his own home. A backyard to play in and he wants to share a bedroom with his 3-year-old brother. He is literally counting down the days,” she told the outlet.

She said about $1,000 has been refunded to donors after the video appeared to contradict her initial story.

Still, she insisted, “This is Dominick’s money. He is the one who went through this.”

A representative for GoFundMe told The Post that the fundraiser is “within GoFundMe Terms of Service at this time,” and that donors could get refunds.

“Our hearts go out to Dominick as he continues to recover,” said Kelsi Gantt, GoFundMe spokesperson and Northeast regional manager.