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Marshals arrest man accused of setting off fireworks that burned down Brooklyn home

Flatlands home burns down because of fireworks
Posted at 3:34 PM, Jul 02, 2020
and last updated 2020-07-03 09:43:55-04

FLATLANDS, Brooklyn — Marshals arrested a 36-year-old man accused of setting off fireworks that burned a Brooklyn home down, officials said Thursday.

Officials said video shows Damien Bend igniting the illegal fireworks on June 24. Bend is charged with arson, FDNY Commissioner Daniel Nigro said.

“Illegal fireworks pose significant dangers to the safety of New Yorkers and their property,” Nigro said. “Our Fire Marshals will continue to actively enforce the laws relating to illegal possession and sales of fireworks in New York City.”

Bend allegedly set off numerous fireworks, sending one of them through a window at around 9:25 p.m. last Friday night, and continuing even as flames could be seen through the window of the 51st Street home.

One of the people with Bend seen on video appears to be smoking a cigarette, even filming himself as he shoots off the fireworks.

His friend, also filming himself, eventually notices the house is burning at 9:32 p.m., about seven minutes after the fire started.

One of the three tries to contain the fire with a garden hose, to no avail.

"They were doing it in such a confined area it was just bound to happen," said FDNY Captain Michael Koco, director of safety education. "It was a recipe for disaster.”

The FDNY has set up one of a number of informational booths across the city to inform residents of the dangers of setting off fireworks, given the dramatic spike in complaints.

“A lot of times, the people that are being harmed are the bystanders,” Koco said.

In the last nine days, fire marshals have arrested 17 people and confiscated nearly $37,000 worth of illegal fireworks.

It took 60 firefighters to knock down the blaze started by fireworks at 51st Street.

“They’re illegal for a reason," said Koco. "You’re talking about explosives. So you need someone who’s a professional to handle them.”