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Jamaica man sets apt on fire; 11 families displaced: Red Cross

A blaze engulfed an apartment in this Jamaica building on Monday. Police charged a man with attempted murder and setting the fire.
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By Patrick Donachie

A Jamaica man was charged with attempted murder after allegedly setting fire to the apartment where he lived, according to the NYPD and the FDNY. The Red Cross responded to the scene and had to temporarily provide housing for a number of families by putting them up in nearby hotels.

The incident occurred Tuesday at about 3:30 p.m., when the FDNY responded to reports of an explosion and a fire on the third floor of 162-05 89th Ave., a six-story building near 162nd Street. The Fire Department called a second alarm at 3:53 p.m. and a total of 25 units and 106 firefighters responded.

Police said Shahed Harun, 29, who lived at the address where the incident occurred, allegedly lit something inflammatory that caused a minor explosion. Police said Harun’s mother had called 911 after he threatened to set the apartment on fire.

Police charged him with attempted murder, arson and reckless endangerment.

An FDNY spokesman said three civilians had minor injuries, but refused medical attention. Harun was also injured during the explosion, according to police. One firefighter was taken to Nassau County Medical Center with a minor injury. Video taken of the fire shows smoke billowing into the air and flames emanating from an apartment.

The Red Cross Chapter for the Greater New York region responded in the aftermath of the explosion with a team comprised of volunteers, offering temporary housing as well as debit cards to help individuals procure food and clothing.

“Before we even knew who would be permanently displaced, we were on scene to help them while they were outside,” a Red Cross spokesman said.

There were 11 families affected by the fire, he said, and nine of those families required emergency housing. The Red Cross was able to accommodate all of the affected families in hotels near where the incident occurred, the spokesman reported.

Reach reporter Patrick Donachie by e-mail at pdonachie@cnglocal.com or by phone at (718) 260–4573.

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