Landlord Allegedly Set Residence On Fire Because Tenants Stopped Paying Rent, Authorities Say

(Public/Screenshots/CBS New York)

John Oyewale Contributor
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Law enforcement agents arrested a New York City landlord for suspected arson committed on his own residence allegedly resulting from a grudge against non-paying tenants, authorities said Friday.

Fire marshals at the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) arrested Rafiqul Islam following an investigation which alleged that “Islam was angry his 2nd floor tenants stopped paying rent, refused to move out, so he set fire to an interior staircase” of his Brooklyn house, the FDNY tweeted. Two adults and six children reportedly escaped.

The alleged arson occurred back on Sept. 26, CBS New York reported. “When the fire first started people speculated it was him. I just see him usually just walking around, going house to house to the houses that he owns, but I’m just shocked that he got arrested,” a neighbor told CBS New York, per the report.

The family on the second floor was trapped and had to flee to the roof. “Six kids and their mother and father, they were on the roof, trying to throw the kids and telling us, Take them, take them,” Shatfiqul Islam, a first-floor resident who escaped and helped rescue four of the children, told CBS New York, a news video footage showed. The parents jumped off the roof, while the FDNY rescued the two other children, the report noted.

“The whole house smoked up right away… It was just really bad,” Sahil Uddin, a neighbor, said in part to CBS New York. (RELATED: Louisiana Man Charged With Arson That Killed His Three Kids)

Sixty fire and emergency personnel responded to the scene and contained the fire after about an hour, CBS New York reported. The Red Cross provided aid to affected families. Seven people reportedly sustained minor injuries and were taken to a hospital.

The FDNY marshals took four weeks to finally find “an image of Islam with his hood and mask down,” the FDNY separately tweeted. Islam faces eight counts of attempted murder, assault, and arson, among other charges, per the FDNY.