Police search for arsonist after two fires in Maywood

Carolina Leid reports from Maywood.
March 4, 2014 2:39:38 PM PST
Authorities in New Jersey are investigating two fires that are believed to have been set deliberately.

Both occurred Sunday morning at apartment complexes in Maywood.

According to the Bergen County Prosecutor, police received a 911 call at 5:30 a.m. of an explosion and fire in a detached garage of a complex on Hammell Place.

Smoke damage crept dangerously close to the apartments above the garages, sending tenants running out of their homes.

"All of the noise, that was some explosion!," said resident Elaine Lowry. "It was an explosion not just a fire."

The explosion startled Lowry awake. She ran to her window and found flames shooting from the garage just feet away from her apartment.

"I saw the glow of it and when I went to the window I saw the separation wall was burning," she said.

Minutes later, there was another explosion, just down the block at Maywood Gardens. This time at an attached garage with apartments above.

Complex superintendent Tom Guzman knew something was fishy.

"This garage was closed but not locked so they just flip her open and threw whatever they had to set the fire and just walk away or ran away, because I was here in no time," said Guzman.

Fortunately no one was hurt, but investigators believe the fires were intentionally set, and some are wondering if this was a dangerous teenage prank.

"I think there's many other ways to have fun. Let's hope it's not because if they get catched it won't be funny," said Guzman.

The complex is telling tenants to lock their garages. Management is locking up all basements and common areas too.

But people who have lived here for 30 plus years point out they have never had a problem before.

Anyone with information regarding the arson fires is encouraged to contact the Bergen County Prosecutor's Office, Anonymous TIPS line at 201-226-5532 or the Maywood Police Department at 201-845-8800.