Cops arrest Ridgewood man for starting a fire that nearly trapped a family in their home

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Police arrested a man in Ridgewood on arson charges last week for setting fire to a home the previous month that left residents trapped.

John O’Sullivan, 59, was charged on June 5 with arson in the second degree, reckless endangerment in the first degree, criminal mischief in the second and third degree, and endangering the welfare of a child.

Fire marshals said that the arson took place between 4:50 and 5:10 a.m. May 27, in front of a home on Woodbine Street near Woodward Avenue.

The investigation found that according to the fire pattern, it spread to the surrounding attached houses, causing charring to the second floor.

Numerous videos from the surrounding locations showed a male wearing a hooded sweatshirt, later identified as the defendant, exit a nearby Woodbine Street home, walk across the street toward a parking alley, then walk back toward the burned home before removing his sweatshirt. 

Other videos show the defendant ignite a flame in his hand and throw it onto a couch and other discarded furniture in front of the residence where the fire was set.

An eyewitness told police that, upon discovering the blaze, he woke his wife, son, sister and dog while screaming “fire” and they tried to exit the location but the front door was engulfed in flames. The residents had to find a basement door in order to exit the rear of their building.

The fire also damaged a 2017 Ford Explorer parked in front of the residence, the criminal complaint from the Queens District Attorney’s office noted.

O’Sullivan’s bail was set at $250,000, and he’s due back in court on June 19.

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