Flaming Frustration: Landlord Sets Building Ablaze

A Brooklyn landlord has finally been charged with 8 counts of attempted murder, assault and arson after being arrested on October 26th for lighting a property he owned ablaze over a rent dispute with his tenants.

In late September, fire officials responded to a call in Cypress Hills where a family of 8 were home as their apartment began to go up in flames. The fire was started in the stairwell of the two-story building, leaving the family unable to exit through the first floor. The two adults and six children were all able to escape the building with no injuries; four of the kids had to be dropped outside, down to into the arms of their helpful neighbors, two kids were carried out by firefighters and the parents had to jump from the second-story roof.

Apparently the family’s landlord, Rafiqul Islam, was the culprit that started the fire. The family, who was living on the second floor of the building, had stopped making rent payments and refused to leave the property. Investigators say that Islam decided to take matters into his own hands and force the family out once and for all.

The family reports that they had multiple unpleasant encounters with Islam before the fire was set in September. One of the family members reported Islam throwing black tar on their front door and threatening to burn them out of the apartment before the fire actually happened. Because of their tumultuous relationship with Islam, the family immediately suspected him as the arsonist.

FDNY marshals got ahold of surveillance footage which showed a man wearing a hood and mask while entering and leaving the apartment building just before the fire began. After four weeks of scouring through neighborhood surveillance footage, police were able to obtain a clear visual of Islam with his hood and mask both down to reveal his face. Because he was still wearing the hood and mask, it was an easy match to the suspect caught on the apartment surveillance footage.

Now facing 8 counts of attempted murder, assault and arson, Rufiqul Islam is unlikely to be collecting any rent any time soon.

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