Schenectady police investigating suspicious fires


SCHENECTADY, N.Y. (NEWS10) — Police are looking for whoever is responsible for setting a string of fires in the north side of the city of Schenectady.

Assistant Fire Chief Dan Mareno said their department responded to at least six small fires between noon and 3 p.m. on Tuesday. The fires were small, mostly in garbage cans and piles of leaves. They caused minimal damage, but homeowners told NEWS10 ABC they fear what’s next.

Many of the homes in the Upper Union Street neighborhood that line Parkwood Avenue, Glenwood Avenue, and Waverly Place have garages in their backyards which sit along East, West, and Center alleys. The fires were concentrated to those areas.

Anna Mare said she has seen a lot of suspicious activity in the alley in the 11 years she’s lived there, but this time, she said they have gone too far. She said if weren’t for a stranger who knocked on her front door to alert her, she fears this could have been much worse.

“He left and I didn’t even get the poor man’s name. I feel bad I could have at least thanked him,” said Mare.

A passerby also alerted Peter Heinegg, who lives down the street from Mare.

“I ran back, and somebody had taken the plastic top of a garbage can, poured accelerant on the top and placed it on the garage door,” Heinegg said. “Since the garage door was metal, the only thing burning was the paint. So if it had gotten inside, it is completely full of wooden objects and it would have burned the whole place down.”

Heinegg said he’s confident Schenectady Police will be able to make an arrest, especially because it happened in broad daylight, and his neighbors have cameras.

“They may very well have pictures of the perpetrators,” said Heinegg.

Neighbors told NEWS10 that there are a couple of schools in the area and some of the older students are allowed to leave during lunch. Schenectady Police Sergeant Jeffrey McCutcheon said that while they cannot be sure that it was a student(s), they are closely working with the school district so that no stone is unturned.

Mareno said he does not want homeowners in the area to panic. He said the arson task force, police detectives and the school district are working aggressively to get to the bottom of this.

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