The arsonist from Queens, New York, who set fire to a number of different stores in a shopping center is going to get a psychiatric evaluation to determine his mental state in the wake of the crime. He has been quoted as saying that he thought that arson was fun, and he put many people in potential danger. This is enough to warrant the evaluation, though it does not necessarily change what he is going to be charged with in the end.

At the first store that he entered, the man allegedly set a fire near some clothes that burned the clothes and melted the carpet and hangers before it was put out. He got away from that without being caught, went to another store, descended to the basement and reportedly started another fire. This one was worse, and the store manager and a number of customers were struck within the cloud of smoke. Customers could not help breathing it in, and they began coughing as they tried to get away.

The man allegedly went to a third store and lit a pillow on fire, but customers at the store were able to stop it quickly. By the time that he was caught, the man had started small fires like these in more than a dozen different stores, according to police.

The most important thing for those who own buildings that are set on fire is to make sure that they take all steps necessary to protect those inside the buildings. This includes things like clearly marking the exits and installing fire alarms. They may not always be able to prevent people from doing things like this, but they can make sure that there is no property negligence on their end that could lead to a lawsuit when someone is injured by the fire or by smoke inhalation.

Source: New York Daily News, “Alleged Queens arsonist ordered to undergo psychiatric evaluation” Clare Trapasso, Feb. 27, 2014

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