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Arrest man in Whitestone arson – QNS.com

Arrest man in Whitestone arson

Fire Marshals operating out of their new base in Fort Totten have made an arrest in the two-alarm fire that damaged a bank of stores in the Whitestone Shopping Center and gutted the Lollipop Diner.
Michael Trantel, 42, was arrested on suspicion of arson, reckless endangerment, burglary and other charges. Marshals think he broke into the diner to steal cigarettes and then set the fire to conceal the crime.
Trantel lives just blocks from the arson scene, at 18-07 Clintonville Street
The fire burst through the front windows of the popular diner at 153-31 Cross Island Parkway, about 1:10 a.m. on Sunday, November 2. Flames raced along the underside of the front awning, damaging everything in their path.
The investigation was headed by Fire Marshal Robert McDevitt of the Fire Department’s Citywide North Command, assisted by Fire Marshal Mark Thompson of the Special Investigations Unit.
The command is staffed by 37 fire marshals, eight supervising fire marshals and a fire marshal commander. They have operated from the former Army base in Bayside since December of 2007.
Fire Marshals from this command conduct all fire investigations throughout Queens, have full arrest powers and carry guns. There are jail cells in the recently restored, century-old landmark building that once served as quarters for field officers in the U.S. Army.

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