NY Times - November 01, 2009by SARAH WHEATON
The inside of a temporary structure where the remains of those who did not survive the burning World Trade Center towers on Sept. 11, 2001, was itself set aflame on Saturday morning. A 26-year-old man was arrested.
None of the remains themselves were damaged, but candles and mementos left by victims' family members at the chapel behind the chief medical examiner's office, known as Memorial Park, were either stolen or burned, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said in a statement.
"Anyone who would set fire to the inviolable Memorial Park chapel is craven and contemptible," Mr. Bloomberg said.
Brian Schroeder, 26, turned himself into the police and was arrested Saturday evening, the department said. Charges were still pending, but a police spokesman said Mr. Schroeder was likely to be charged with arson.
Mr. Schroeder turned himself in as fire marshals and the Police Department's arson unit investigated the scene, along Franklin D. Roosevelt Drive between 29th and 30th Streets. Mr. Schroeder's motive was unclear, and no other information about him was available on Saturday evening.
A Fire Department spokesman said firefighters responded to a 911 call shortly before 9 a.m. Saturday, and found mementos and a bench smoldering. There was little more than smoke damage to the structure itself, which Mr. Bloomberg said the medical examiner's office would repair.
In a letter sent to families of 9/11 victims, Nazli Parvizi of the mayor's community affairs office said that a break-in had been discovered Saturday morning. "While the incident is still under investigation and details are sparse, what we do know is after the break-in, mementos were gathered and a fire was started in the chapel," Ms. Parvizi wrote.
Though the Memorial Park site is temporary and technically a tent, it is hardly a haphazard repository. The space had a $1 million renovation in 2006; more than 10,000 remains are kept in climate-controlled, walk-in containers, and there is a separate chapel with a fountain. The remains have been dehydrated until they can be identified with DNA technology, and they will eventually be moved to a memorial at ground zero.