NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — A fire broke out late Monday in a Queens apartment building, and a man was taken into custody at the scene.
A two-alarm fire broke out on the third floor of a six-story building at 162-05 89th Ave. in Jamaica, Queens, officials told CBS2.
Police believe an emotionally disturbed person started the fire and was injured.
As CBS2’s Valerie Castro reported, residents late Monday waited for word that it was safe to go back inside the building.
As 1010 WINS’ Carol D’Auria reported, police said a mother had called 911 to say her son was acting irrationally. Police went upstairs and spoke to the woman’s 29-year-old son through the door, when suddenly they heard what they thought was an explosion and there were flames.
The man then walked out of the apartment and was immediately taken into custody, police said.
The man was also hospitalized with burns, CBS2’s Castro reported.
Police sources said he lit a canister of gasoline on fire.
NYPD Assistant Chief David Barrere said the suspect “emerged from inside apartment with burns on his face and lower extremities.”
A police officer was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation.
The FDNY said there was no actual explosion, but the fire was so intense that the heat blew out the windows of the apartment and created a banging sound.
The fire was mostly contained to two apartments but residents were evacuated.
It was all frightening to the neighbors.
“Oh my God, there’s smoke coming out, there’s smoke coming out, and then we saw fire on the balcony,” one woman said.
Linta Hayat lives on the first floor of the building and was evacuated.
“I just heard something broke,” Hayat said. “I didn’t know what was happening, but then police came in and they told us to get out of the building so we ran outside.”
Con Edison also turned off electric power to some of the floors due to the damage, CBS2 has learned. When the landlord gets the OK from the FDNY to start making repairs, then the landlord will notify Con Ed when to turn the electric back on.
The Red Cross said 70 apartment units were affected. They provided emergency supplies to those waiting outside.
Police said the man who allegedly started the fire is emotionally disturbed. They took him to the hospital and he is in custody.