TOLEDO, OH (Toledo News Now) - The owner of the apartment building that caught fire Sunday has been arrested and charged with two counts each of aggravated arson and aggravated murder, after two Toledo firefighters died from their injuries.
The fire broke out around 2:45 p.m. at a six-unit apartment building in the 500 block of Magnolia Street in Toledo's north end.
Toledo Municipal Court documents say Ray Abou-Arab, 61, entered the garage where he remained for more than a minute. Then he entered a store front at the same location. Immediately after Abou-Arab left the garage, an occupant of the rear apartment adjacent to the garage noticed the wall structure was on fire. 911 was called and Toledo Fire & Rescue units responded.
According to the Toledo mayor's office, Abou-Arab is suspected of using an ignitable liquid inside of the garage.
On the day of the fire, one witness described what she heard as the fire began.
"I heard the garage door open, my apartment's right behind the garage. So I heard the garage door open, which is typical 'cause they go in and out of there, and then I heard it shut [...] I looked up and I could see the flames coming through the ceiling. So I told my boyfriend, 'Come on get out! The place is on fire!'" said Tracy Bishop.
Oregon Deputy Police Chief Paul Magditch says officers from his department stood by as Toledo Police searched a house owned by Abou-Arab in Oregon Friday afternoon. Police then arrested him.
Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins released the following statement Friday:
"I would like to thank the agencies that were involved in this investigation, our City's fire investigators, our Toledo Police Department, the State Fire Marshal, the FBI, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health. This is an ongoing case that must proceed through the court system, given that, I will refrain from additional comments at this time," said Mayor Collins.
According to the Lucas County coroner, Stephen Machcinski and James Dickman died of thermal burns and exposure to carbon monoxide.
A Last Alarm memorial service was held in the SeaGate Centre in downtown Toledo Thursday night. Firefighters from all over the state and country came to show their support.
Friends and family gathered once again for visitation and processions Friday. Dickman's procession traveled from Toledo to Sandusky, where he was buried. On Saturday, there will be a private prayer service for Machcinski, followed by a procession.
The community continues to show support for the department and families of the victims in a variety of ways. Click here to learn how you can help donate.
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