A 28-year-old Northeast Washington man was being held in Delaware yesterday after police there arrested him in connection with a D.C. fire two weeks ago in which three men died and three were seriously injured, D.C. police said.

They said Kenneth Barry Hunter of 511 58th St. NE has been charged in a D.C. Superior Court warrant with first-degree murder in the May 16 fire at his house.

Hunter was arrested after D.C. police asked police in Wilmington to look for Hunter, whose mother lives there, a D.C. police source said. He said Wilmington police arrested Hunter Friday after he was spotted driving in a van in his mother's neighborhood.

He is being heldpending extradition.

D.C. police have determined that the fatal fire was set, but the exact cause is pending further tests by the Treasury Department's Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

Reginald A. Smith, 30, Joseph Leroy Johnson, 37, both of whom lived at the 58th Street address, and James Richardson, 38, of 2116 H St. NE, died in the blaze.

Police sources said neighbors have told investigators that the day before the fire, people who lived in the house apparently had evicted one of the residents, and many personal belongings were thrown outside during a boisterous argument.

Two men who were injured in the fire remain in serious condition at the Washington Hospital Center.