Man accused of setting nine fires appears in court

NORTH TONAWANDA, N.Y. (WIVB) – A City of Tonawanda man accused of setting nine fires in six locations was arraigned in North Tonawanda Court Wednesday morning.

PHOTOS | See photos from each fire scene

Christopher Syracuse is facing 11 felony charges and four misdemeanor charges in North Tonawanda and he will also face charges in the City of Tonawanda. The North Tonawanda Police Chief said this could become a federal case, and the U.S. Attorney is looking over it.

Christopher Syracuse was arraigned Wednesday morning.
Christopher Syracuse was arraigned Wednesday morning.

The 26-year-old asked the judge if he could say something in court about why he intentionally set the fires. The judge stopped him and said for his own benefit, Syracuse shouldn’t say anything.

Police say Syracuse already confessed to starting all of the fires when he was arrested Tuesday night.

The judge entered a not guilty plea for Syracuse Wednesday morning. He is being held at the Niagara County Jail without bail and is due back in court Thursday afternoon, to be assigned an attorney.


Charges against Syracuse: Three counts of second-degree arson, four counts of third-degree arson, one count of fourth-degree arson, two counts of fifth-degree arson, three counts of second-degree criminal mischief and two counts of fourth-degree criminal mischief.


Multiple law enforcement agencies worked together Tuesday to arrest the man who they say confessed to starting nine fires at six locations overnight in North Tonawanda and the City of Tonawanda.

RELATED | Click here to see video of the suspected arsonist released by police that proved integral in Syracuse’s arrest

Police say several tips led them directly to the Syracuse, who was taken into custody around 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday. He was placed under arrest around 9:00 p.m., after police say he confessed to starting all of the fires.

MAP OF FIRE LOCATIONS:

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Chief Hall says Syracuse gave a reason for his actions, but at a press conference late Tuesday night, he would not elaborate. Syracuse does not have a criminal history to speak of, beside a single charge of petit larceny, and has no mental health history.

Police say they do not believe drugs or alcohol are involved and say Syracuse has been cooperative.

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