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Queens Chronicle

A fire sale of another kind at Queens malls

Jamaica man busted for arson spree

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Posted: Thursday, February 27, 2014 10:30 am

There were plenty of hot deals at the Queens Center and Rego Center malls earlier this week, just not in the way you would think.

Dereck Sumair, 23, of 160th Street in Jamaica, is facing a total of 41 charges after he was arrested for allegedly setting multiple small fires at both shopping centers within minutes of each other on Monday afternoon.

Firefighters were called to the first fire, which broke out inside Macy’s, at the Queens Center mall at 90-01 Queens Blvd. in Elmhurst, around 3:15 p.m., and authorities had the minor blaze under control 20 minutes later, the FDNY said.

Around 3:30 p.m., officials responded to three more small fires inside the Rego Center mall at 96-05 Queens Blvd. in Rego Park, with the blazes being set in the Burlington Coat Factory; Bed, Bath and Beyond; Sears; Old Navy and Target.

The fires produced enough smoke and heat to set off the sprinkler systems but were contained quickly, according to authorities.

Fire was set to merchandise like clothing and pillows. The malls were not evacuated and there were no injuries.

Sumair also allegedly set small fires at Sears in the Rego Center mall on Thursday and blazes at TJ Maxx, Staples and other stores in the complex on Sunday.

As Sumair was attempting to leave Burlington Coat Factory shortly after he allegedly set socks on fire with a lighter on Monday, he was arrested by an officer who recognized him from a surveillance photo from Sunday’s incident.

Sumair is being held on 10 counts of second-degree arson, two counts of fifth-degree arson, nine counts of first-degree reckless endangerment, two counts of second-degree reckless endangerment and 18 counts of criminal mischief.

He was arraigned on Wednesday and ordered to undergo a psychiatric evaluation.

Sumair’s next court date is March 18 and he faces up to 25 years in prison.

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