FDNY Fire Marshals have made an arrest in connection with the sixth-alarm fire on February 4th in the Far Rockaway section of Queens that left more than 200 people homeless. After a month-long investigation into the fire at 1056 Neilson Street, Fire Marshals arrested Marcello McDonald yesterday and charged him with setting the fire.
The fire started at approximately 11:45 p.m. on February 4th in a fifth-floor apartment and quickly spread throughout that floor as well as the second, third, fourth and sixth floors. This later lead to a partial collapse of the residential building. Approximately 30 people were injured as a result of the blaze, including more than 20 firefighters.
McDonald, 40, who is homeless, sometimes stayed in his girlfriend’s fifth-floor apartment where the fire began. Under questioning by Fire Marshals, McDonald admitted to starting the fire. He stated that he was tired of his girlfriend’s alleged prostitution and drug use and that by starting the fire it would prevent her from returning to the apartment. He allegedly told her “you are officially evicted.”
After canvassing the area and conducting surveillance, Fire Marshals were able to apprehend McDonald yesterday on Nasby Street in the Far Rockaway section of Queens. When Fire Marshals first questioned McDonald, he denied who he was, stating that he went by the name “ The Prophet.” After a short time later, McDonald confessed and told Fire Marshals “he was tired of hiding.”
McDonald is charged with burglary and arson in the second degree.
Press Contact: Francis X. Gribbon & Seth Andrews, (FDNY) (718) 999-2056