A man has been arrested in connection with a building fire in 2017 that left dozens homeless in Hamilton Heights. The 34-year-old man was arrested by New York police and charged with assault, reckless endangerment and arson. The man was originally believed to have perished in the fire, but authorities later discovered he had fled the state. So far, no court date has been announced, though the man is likely focused on his criminal defense options.
According to local news sources, the fire was allegedly set on Nov. 17, 2017 in an apartment building that housed some 35 families. The details of how this fire was allegedly set have not been made public at this time, but it has been confirmed that three firefighters were injured while attempting to put out the blaze. Nearly all of the people affected have been displaced by the destruction of their homes.
Police say they obtained video evidence of the man, who was a tenant in the same building, leaving his apartment to purchase a container of gasoline. He then allegedly returned and set the fire, escaping the building without informing any of the other residents. No motive in this alleged crime has been established.
A charge of this magnitude could see the defendant behind bars for a considerable time, if he is found guilty. However, New York authorities will likely need to include the alleged video evidence, as well as compelling evidence proving he actually started the fire, in order to secure a conviction. In the meantime, his criminal defense team will work to protect his legal rights and fight for the best result attainable.
Source: CBS New York, "Suspect Facing Charges In Hamilton Heights Fire", Feb. 9, 2018