Wage dispute led a construction worker to try to set fire to an Elmhurst restaurant

Photos courtesy of FDNY

Hot under the collar over his pay, a disgruntled construction worker was busted this week for trying to set fire to a Elmhurst restaurant that his employer owns, fire marshals announced on Friday.

Andrew Chung, 41, of 84th Avenue in Jamaica entered the Islander Seafood Restaurant located at 79-21 Queens Blvd. at 11 a.m. on April 4 carrying a five-gallon container of gasoline. According to the criminal complaint that the Queens District Attorney’s office provided, Chung allegedly said that he was going to burn down the restaurant and kill the owner.

Fire Department sources said that Chung proceeded to splash it across the eatery, soaking a female employee in the process.

Restaurant workers were able to restrain Chung before he could light the place on fire, but fire marshals said that he managed to escape their grasp. He fled the scene before police officers and Fire Department personnel arrived.

The FDNY released security camera footage of Chung allegedly spreading gasoline throughout the eatery, including the kitchen.

Following an investigation, fire marshals apprehended Chung near his residence. They learned that Chung attempted to torch the restaurant after getting into a beef with his his employer, who owns the establishment.

“If the gasoline had been lit, many lives would have been in peril because of this dangerous act,” Fire Commissioner Daniel Nigro said in an April 6 statement.

Chung was charged with second-degree attempted arson, attempted assault, reckless endangerment and criminal possession of a weapon. According to court records, he remains held on $200,000 cash or $100,000 bond bail, and must return to court on April 20.

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