LACKAWANNA, N.Y. - A source at the Erie County Sheriff's Office says an accelerant was found in connection with a fire that injured several people in Lackawanna last month.
However, whether or not it is considered to be an arson still has not been determined.
The fire occurred at 79 Ingham Avenue on April 22. Seven people were hurt.
There is now a $10,000 reward for information leading to a possible arrest in connection with the fire. Although Lackawanna police have not deemed this a criminal case or called it an arson, members of the community believe that the fire was intentionally set.
Lackawanna Mayor Geoffrey M. Szymanski said "if this was determined to be an arson this will be the second arson in one month I will call on the FBI to investigate this" and he wants it looked into if this is a potential hate crime.
Khaled Soliman remains in long term care at ECMC with a fractured spine broken ribs and a crushed foot. His wife is in the burn ICU at ECMC in critical, but stable condition with third-degree burns on her back and shoulders. The couples three-year-old son, Zaid, is hospitalized at Strong Memorial pediatric burn unit in Rochester.
The fire chief said some tenants jumped from the second floor to escape the smoke and flames. Firefighters led four others down a ladder to safety.
There are four units in the building. Three of the families who live there have children.
The fire started in a common hallway, and the chief called the fire suspicious.
"Whoever did this strategically placed the fire in the first floor hallway to try to kill 20 people and burn them to the ground. It is a heinous crime and this person has callous disregard for human life," said Yaser Soliman, relative of some of the fire victims.
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