Mariano Barbosa Jr. Allegedly Set Fires To Keep Crowds Away, Make Job Easier

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — FDNY fire marshals have arrested a hotel employee for allegedly setting eight fires over the past four years at two hotels where he worked as a security officer.

As 1010 WINS’ Gary Baumgarten reported Saturday afternoon, Mariano Barbosa Jr., 30, of Union City, N.J., was charged with setting the fires between February 2009 and this month.

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The fires were set at the Yotel Hotel, 570 Tenth Ave., and the SoHo Grand Hotel, 310 West Broadway, the FDNY said.

When he was arrested, Barbosa was working as director of security at the Yotel Hotel, officials said. He had worked previously as a security officer at the SoHo Grand.

Neighbors told CBS 2’s Dave Carlin that the thought of living near a suspected arsonist was frightening.

“That’s quite frightening because I am living in a home I assume is safe,” Carlin Dorvilier said.

Hotel guests were shocked.

“It is appalling. Very scary even because security guards are supposed be for safe keeping,” Karwar Akanksha said.

Marshals believe Barbosa set the fires to bring negative attention to the hotels and their popular nighttime crowds, so that his own job would be less demanding.

He allegedly set the fires in hallways, stairwells and exit doors, so as to prevent occupants from escaping and keep firefighters out. The fires were all brought under control quickly by firefighters, officials said.

“It’s disturbing that an individual charged with the safety of hotel occupants would callously endanger their lives – and the lives of firefighters – for personal gain,” Fire Commissioner Salvatore J. Cassano said in a news release. “I commend the marshals for their extensive investigative work that led to this arrest.”

Barbosa is charged with setting fires at the following times and on the following floors of the SoHo Grand:

• Feb 3, 2009, 3:27 a.m., 11th floor;

• Jan. 1, 2010, 2:58 a.m. 4th floor;

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• May 8, 2010, 1:46 a.m., 11th floor.

He also allegedly set fires at the Yotel Hotel on the following occasions:

• Oct. 8, 2011, 2:43 a.m., 18th floor;

• April 8, 2012, 4:31 a.m., 24th floor;

• Nov. 10, 2012, 10:11 p.m., 17th floor;

• Feb. 22, 2013, 11:36 p.m., 23rd floor;

• Sept. 8, 2013, 18th and 22nd floors.

Hotel management told CBS 2 that they are deeply concerned and have been working with investigators. YOTEL management released a statement regarding the investigation on Saturday night.

We can confirm that we have been advised by the NY Fire Department that Mariano Barbosa, a Security Manager and employee of YOTEL New York was arrested late last night over a number of incidents connected with the hotel.  We are deeply concerned by the allegations against Mr. Barbosa and we are working with the NY Fire Department and NYPD to provide whatever information they may need.  The safety and security of our guests and crew continues to be a top priority for us.

No injuries were reported in any of the fires.


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