The man, identified as Kareem Jamal Walters, 26, was charged with multiple counts of arson, assault, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief, according to the DA. He could face 25 years in prison if convicted.
Early Friday morning, firefighters were putting out a blaze outside an apartment building at 62-98 Saunders St. in Elmhurst, when a fire captain recognized Walters, who was watching the flames, from other fire scenes, Brown said. When investigators questioned him, Walters reportedly admitted to setting garbage bags and a Christmas tree on fire, according to the DA. He was charged with setting 18 blazes in Elmhurst, Maspeth and Rego Park between Aug. 16 and Jan. 19, the DA said.
Walters lives in a group home on 58th Avenue in Elmhurst, and one of the fires he is charged in was set just blocks away on Jan. 15, at 84-22 60th Road in Elmhurst, Brown said. In that fire, a lieutenant from Ladder 136 was cut on the face when an electric meter exploded, spraying glass into his face, according to the DA.
Many of the fires Walters is charged with setting were near apartment buildings, Brown said.
©2007 Community News Group
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