LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WIVB) — An investigation into an apartment building fire in Lackawanna is leaning towards arson.
It happened last Saturday on Ingham Road around 3:30 in the morning.
Six people, including three children were hospitalized. One of the victims is still fighting for her life.
“I hope they find a person or persons responsible because the families are basically looking for justice for what happened to them,” said Abdulsalam Noman, Lackawanna council member.
Two families are still recovering from the fire. The apartment building housed four families and 20 people all together.
The apartment building is owned by the Lackawanna Islamic Mosque.
“My 4 year-old niece remembers everything in detail from the night of the fire so they’re very very traumatized,” said Yaser Soliman, family member of the victims.
The children have been discharged from the hospital and are doing well, but their mother remains in the burn unit in the ICU with pneumonia. Their father will be at ECMC rehab for another week.
Officials are calling the fire suspicious and say it was set intentionally.
There has been mixed feelings as to whether or not the fire is a hate crime.
“I don’t think this is a hate crime and I don’t want people to start jumping to that conclusion. I don’t think that’s where the investigation is heading,” said Soliman.
“We don’t tolerate hate crimes, we don’t tolerate bigotry and we’re going to put our money where our mouth is and we’re going to make sure centers like this are secured and continue to be secured,” said NYS Assemblyman Sean Ryan.
Two weeks prior to the fire, neighbors say someone tried setting the front porch on fire. No arrests have been made.
Those close to the family say they want justice and to not live in fear.
“We’d like to bring whoever did this to justice because my brother’s very worried that whoever did this might come after him again,” said Soliman.
“How do you feel safe at home? Because you’re home, that’s how you feel safe, but if you’re not feeling safe at home that scars you and that undermines your confidence as who you are and where you live,” said Faizan Haq, founder of WNY Muslims.
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