Wagswoofs – Authorities in Brooklyn say a 66-year-old owner set fire to his rental home while a family of eight people, six of whom were children, were inside. The landlord has been charged with attempted murder and arson.
According to them, he became upset when they stopped paying the rent and refused to leave.
Rafiqul Islam, a resident of Bedford-Stuyvesant, appeared in court where he was arraigned on a 59-count indictment. He was ordered to be detained without bond as he faces serious charges including first-degree attempted murder, which carries a potential sentence of up to 25 years in jail. Additionally, he is also charged with attempted assault and multiple counts of endangering the welfare of others.
Occupied Rental Home
Police say that Islam had a disagreement with the family that lived in a rental home in Cypress Hills that he owned because they did not pay the rent. Before being charged on September 26, he is said to have said he would burn down the house. Only one door leads into the two-story, two-family house on Forbell Street; there is no fire escape.
One of the renters on the second floor said they could smell fire coming from outside the family’s room early that September morning. The renter went to check on things and found that the only way in or out of the building was through the smoke-filled, on-fire interior stairs.
The Family Was Rescued
The entire family, consisting of six children ranging from one to eight years old, had to quickly escape the advancing fire by jumping out of a back window and onto the roof. Luckily, two of the adults were able to safely lower the children down to waiting neighbors below, who caught them in their arms. After ensuring the children’s safety, the two adult tenants bravely leaped from the roof to the ground. One of them immediately dialed 911 for help.
The video that was supposedly taken right before that call shows Islam leaving the building. According to reports, he walked into the building wearing a mask and carrying a bucket and a trash bag.