Investigators say a woman used some kind of chemical accelerant to fuel fires in 15 trash cans Monday afternoon.
The first fire was in front of the New York Public Library on Fifth Avenue and 42nd Street at about 3 p.m. At about the same time, authorities received a 911 call about a trash can fire a block away on Madison Avenue.
More reports followed in rapid succession. They were between Fifth and Lexington avenues and 41st and 45th streets.
The fire department used three engines and two trucks to put out the small fires, which melted the plastic garbage bins.
Eyewitnesses describe the suspect as a woman in her 50s, about 5-foot tall with a shopping cart and brown hat.
Police say the same person may be responsible for similar fires in the area two weeks ago.
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