CHELSEA, Manhattan — A man set fire to an outdoor dining structure in Manhattan early Monday morning, and police suspect he may be behind more than a dozen additional rubbish fires in the same area overnight, according to the NYPD.
Police and firefighters who were called to the scene around 4:15 a.m. found the outdoor dining structure in front of a restaurant at 176 Eighth Ave. ablaze, with flames extending toward the main building, authorities said.
Firefighters extinguished the fire and no injuries were reported.
Police canvassing the area using an eyewitness description of a suspect stopped a man who fit that description near West 13th Street and Greenwich Street, according to the NYPD. He was in possession of lighter fluid, a lighter and a bottle containing an unknown liquid, police said.
He was taken into custody and transferred to a hospital for a psychiatric evaluation, police said. Charges were pending Monday afternoon.
Investigators believe he may be behind as many as 13 other trash fires that started around 2:30 a.m. Monday in the same area.
None of those fires were as serious in nature, police said, but all of them are being treated as suspicious.
Submit tips to police by calling Crime Stoppers at 1-800-577-TIPS (8477), visiting crimestoppers.nypdonline.org, downloading the NYPD Crime Stoppers mobile app, or texting 274637 (CRIMES) then entering TIP577. Spanish-speaking callers are asked to dial 1-888-57-PISTA (74782).