Loventino Cassadean, 49, flagged down police, telling them his house was on fire early Monday. When firefighters arrived, they found the entrance blocked by a mattress and accelerant could be smelled. Cassadean's wife, Felicia, 22, was found near the entrance. An autopsy will determine the precise cause of death.
The New York Daily News said Cassadean was questioned and quickly arrested.
Neighbors told the newspaper the couple had a stormy relationship. The couple's children, ages 5 and 2, were visiting their grandmother in Guyana at the time of their mother's death.
A family member told the Daily News Felicia Cassadean had been studying pharmacology and was scheduled to start a new job at Home Depot the day she was killed.
"She was trying to make the American Dream," said an uncle, Anthony Ram. "It's tragic her life was cut short this way."