LACKAWANNA, N.Y. (WIVB) – A reward of up to $11,000 is being offered for help in finding the person or person responsible for an April arson in Lackawanna that seriously injured a family, including two young children.
Officials from Erie County District Attorney John Flynn’s office and other agencies spoke on Wednesday morning.
“We believe this reward money will take us to the next level in this investigation,” Flynn said.
The fire broke out in an Ingham Road apartment building owned by the Lackawanna Islamic Mosque.
“This fire began in a rear entranceway to the multi-unit home, trapping the Soliman family in their rear upper apartment and forcing the parents and their six-month-old, three-year-old and four-year-old to be rescued from a second story window,” Lackawanna Police Chief James Michel said.
Six people were hospitalized. In all, around 20 people were displaced by the fire.
“The residents were awoken from a sound sleep by this fire and had no way out,” Flynn said. “Two young children and their parents suffered needlessly and it’s a miracle no one died. We won’t rest until we find out who is responsible.”
Surveillance video showed a person on a bicycle, who the DA said “could very well be a person of interest,” but he did not say more than that regarding a suspect.
“We will confirm there was an accelerant,” Lackawanna Police Chief James Michel said.
The children who were injured during the arson are still recovering, according to a family source.
The father is still in a wheelchair and the mother remains hospitalized.
Flynn said that if he can charge the arsonist with a hate crime, he will.