Queens community on edge over arson fires

- Forest Hills, Queens, has always been known as one of the more desirable and safest neighborhoods in the city. But now tension is in the air and worries about a serial arsonist on the loose. So police came to the Bukharian Community Center to reassure residents he will be caught.

The unusual sight of flames shooting in to the sky has become too common in Forest Hills. Police believe this suspect wearing a hoodie is the one responsible for burning homes under construction or major renovations. It has happened 7 times since late October.

The NYPD posted wanted fliers in the neighborhood and spoke with residents. Officers were stationed at some of the sites, and top detectives assigned to the case. Investigators say it was pure luck there were no strong winds blowing flames onto neighboring houses and no injuries. Most of the properties are owned by members of the growing Russian Bukharian Jewish community.

Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro says everything possible is being done.

Long-time residents hope this is not a sign of bigger problems.

Another clue detectives are working with is a bit unusual: no accelerant, like gasoline, was used in any of the fires.

A $12,500 reward is posted for information leading to the arrest of the arson suspect. All you have to do is call 800-577-TIPS.
 

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