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Contractor Who Torched Brooklyn Building During Roof Repair Charged with Arson

NY Daily News - April 16, 2017

by THOMAS TRACY JOHN ANNESE

FDNY 2 — firebugs 0.

Fire marshals have arrested a contractor for arson after his reckless use of a torch during a rooftop repair set a Brooklyn building on fire, officials said Saturday.

It’s the second time in a week marshals have filed arson charges against a contractor using a torch during a rooftop repair, officials said.

In the latest arrest, FDNY investigators charged 47-year-old Farooq Rashid with arson, reckless endangerment and tampering with physical evidence after sparking the blaze at a home on E. 18th St. near Albemarle Road in Ditmas Park about 2 p.m. Friday.

Marshals determined the cause of the fire was the “illegal and reckless use of a propane fueled torch during a roofing repair job,” the FDNY tweeted.

More than 100 firefighters responded to douse the blaze, which took over an hour to snuff out. No injuries were reported.

On Wednesday, police arrested Declan McElhatton, 52, of Yonkers, for arson after he allegedly set a massive Queens apartment ablaze while also using a torch during a roof repair.

McElhatton was hired to fix the roof of the building on 94th St. near 57th St. in Elmhurst on Tuesday evening but his contract specified that he’d use materials “designed to be applied cold, without the use of heat,” according to a criminal complaint.

When he used the torch, the apartment building caught fire. Firefighters battled the flames for four hours before bringing it under control. All 112 apartments were evacuated and 67 families were displaced, officials said.

Two firefighters suffered serious injuries.