NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) – Police are searching for a suspected arsonist caught on camera lighting a lobby on fire in the Bronx.
Surveillance video shows the man pour accelerant on the floor and walls of the apartment building on Bailey Avenue in the Kingsbridge section. He puts a piece of paper on the floor and sets it on fire before running away.READ MORE: Gabby Petito Search: Video Shows Couple Questioned About Physical Altercation In Utah, Fiancé Told Police Road Trip Created 'Emotional Strain'
A ball of flames erupted in the front lobby, while most residents were asleep inside.
“I woke up my family and my wife and said, ‘get ready, we have a fire,’” said building superintendent Samuel Flores.
Flores and his family escaped the building around 2:30 a.m. Sunday and called the fire department.
“I said, ‘something really wrong is happening,’” he said.
First responders came quickly and put out the flames. That’s when Flores said he noticed a jug and charred paper on the floor.
One check of the surveillance video confirmed his suspicion.READ MORE: Feast Of San Gennaro Returns In Little Italy As Vendors Take COVID Precautions
“Somebody did it on purpose, but I don’t have any idea why or who,” he said. “This is a nice building, quiet building, people are nice.”
No one was hurt in the fire.
“He didn’t do this against one person. It was against the whole building,” said Flores. “You know how many people I have here? There’s about 300 people living in this building.”
Police said they’re searching for a masked man, about six feet tall, wearing all black.
“We’ve always felt very safe in this neighborhood. So all of a sudden for this to happen, it just makes you feel really uneasy,” resident Catherine Fuentealba said.
“I just think it’s some jealous person that was here, because there are a lot of suspicious characters around the place,” said resident Joseph Sealy.MORE NEWS: Search For Suspects After Man Shot, Another Robbed While Dining Outside Philippe Restaurant On Upper East Side
Anyone with information about the fire is asked to call NYPD’s Crime Stoppers hotline at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477) or 1-888-57-PISTA (74782) for Spanish. You can also submit a tip via the Crime Stoppers website, by Tweeting @NYPDTips or by texting a tip to 274637 (CRIMES) and then entering TIP577.