Fire marshals arrested a teen believed to be responsible for the two-alarm fire of Essex Card Shop in the East Village, according to FDNY sources.
A blistering inferno engulfed and ultimately gutted a neighborhood stationery store on Jan. 10. The fire, which began in the afternoon and lasted into the evening left two firefighters with minor injuries and a local business in disrepair.
After an investigation by fire marshals, the FDNY officials made the arrest of a 13-year-old boy who allegedly triggered the blaze. Sources also iterate that the inquiry was made almost entirely by the FDNY with little NYPD involvement. Due to the teen’s tender age, a name has not been disclosed but a source close to the investigation reported that the boy was seen on surveillance footage leaving the East Village store soon before the fire began ravaging the property. He has been charged with arson in the second degree.
The store manager, Jay Patel, spoke with amNewYork Metro at the scene of the fire, explaining that he smelled smoke but by the time he located the source of the blaze, he couldn’t extinguish it. While the local business has been completely destroyed, there is a silver lining amidst the charred rubble.
Son of store owner Muhammad Aslam, Saba Aslam organized a GoFundMe page to help regain costs in order to reopen. Currently the page has raised over $71,000 dollars from New Yorkers who were deeply saddened by the fire. An outpouring of love and support can be read as donations continue to flood in. The GoFundMe can be found here.
FDNY sources say they currently do not have a motive for the crime.