Fire Races Through Another Vacant Annadale Home

SI Advance - December 29, 2009

by Maura Yates

STATEN ISLAND, N.Y. --- Fire raced through a vacant Annadale home last night, in the second suspicious blaze in the neighborhood in four days.

Flames broke out in the two-story brick and frame house at 791 Annadale Rd. around 9:30 p.m. and burned for a half hour before the fire was extinguished shortly after 10 p.m.

There were no injuries.

The home, which has been vacant for some time and is reportedly slated for demolition, is owned by Steve Bakousis and Magdy Kheir, the proprietors of the Annadale Diner next door.

Neighbors said tenants moved out awhile ago, and the house had been empty for several weeks. There are plans to develop the property near Lorrain Avenue.

A witness reportedly saw a person leaving the house shortly before the fire began, and the fire marshal was on the scene investigating the damage last night.

It was the second suspicious fire at a vacant Annadale home since fire marshals investigated a Christmas morning blaze that destroyed the house at 254 Edgegrove Ave.

The early Friday fire incinerated the entire house, leaving only the front steps, a doorbell, railing and small section of siding, before it jumped to the house next door at 260 Edgegrove Ave., burning a couple and their infant son out of their home. They were not injured.

The two incidents, along with a Dumpster fire that was reported in the neighborhood earlier last night, are cause for concern, said City Councilman Vincent Ignizio (R-South Shore), who lives nearby and worries the fires may be the work of a firebug.

"The potential here is we have two arson fires, both in vacant homes, which may point to a serial arsonist," he said, urging owners of vacant homes to be vigilant and secure their property as well as possible.