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Leena Levin, of Syosset, allegedly told fire...
By Brendan Browne
A Long Island woman was arrested last week on charges of burning down her husbands medical office in a Forest Hills high-rise apartment building in March, Queens District Attorney Richard Brown said.
Leena Levin, of Syosset, allegedly told fire marshals that her husband, who is not a suspect, instructed her to set fire to his office in the Parker Towers at 104-40 Queens Blvd. so he could collect the insurance money on the damage, Chief Fire Marshal Louis Garcia said .
Levin, 41, has been charged with arson in the first and second degree, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief, Garcia said. She has been remanded with no bail set and faces up to 25 years in prison if found guilty of the charges, he added.
Levin, who was arrested for driving while intoxicated in 1995, also told investigators that her husband was cheating on her and she allegedly admitted to vandalizing his car a week before the fire, Garcia said.
The defendant is alleged to have set several fires inside her husbands medical office in a fully occupied apartment building that placed hundreds of lives of residents and firefighters at grave risk of death, the district attorney said in a statement.
The fire was quickly extinguished by firefighters on March 24 and did not spread to any other units in the 400-apartment building, Brown said.
But for the quick response and effective action by New York Citys Bravest a tragedy, including the loss of life, would almost certainly have occurred, Brown said.
Levins husband, Dr. Allan Levin, an ear, nose, and throat specialist who is affiliated with Parkway Hospital in Forest Hills, had his office in the mostly residential Parkway Towers for more than five years, Brown said.
Levins attorney did not return phone calls.
Although the insurance policy on the office was for $250,000, the fire caused more than $600,000 worth of damage, Brown said.
Investigators said they have a tape of Levin filling up a gas canister at a Mobil station on the Grand Central Parkway at Francis Lewis Boulevard in Holliswood shortly before the gasoline fire was set, Garcia said. She allegedly said her husband gave her matches to start the blaze, he said.
Reach reporter Brendan Browne by e-mail at Timesledger@aol.com or by phone at 229-0300, Ext. 155.
©2002 Community Newspaper Group
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