Exclusive: BMW totaled in intentional trash fire in Chelsea is latest in series of arsons: FDNY

ByEyewitness News WABC logo
Friday, September 1, 2023
Exclusive: BMW totaled in intentional trash fire in Chelsea
The FDNY is tracking a series of intentional trash fires in Chelsea, Manhattan. Jim Dolan has the exclusive story.

CHELSEA, Manhattan (WABC) -- Many people consider parking on the city streets a risk. You could return to your vehicle to find it has a scratch on the side or a parking ticket on the windshield.

When 19-year-old Michael Ganchrski approached his 2004 BMW in Chelsea Friday, he was met with quite the shock. His car, built the same year he was born, was totaled-- not in an accident, but by an apparent arson.

"I bought for myself for my 19th birthday, I'm a 2004 baby so I got an '04," Ganchrski said. "I was rebuilding it myself, I was doing break suspensions, all of the maintenance and I didn't get so far until this happened."

A large pile of trash bags and recyclables was set on fire in Chelsea around 3 a.m. at 155 West 21st Street where Ganchrski parked his car.

The trash fire was so hot it melted the fabric of the car's seats and the windshield exploded from the heat. The hood of the car was blown out and the tires blew up.

The front of the car behind Ganchrski's was melted in the fire, as well as the cover of an electric panel more than ten feet away.

"When I got downstairs, the scene was crazy because there was garbage everywhere and I saw the car completely totaled," Ganchrski said.

In video from the scene, a person lights up the pile of recyclables by using an aerosol can and a lighter. They seem to admire the fire as they walk away.

This arson is just the latest in a series of trash fires the FDNY has been tracking in Manhattan.

Fire marshals, who are now investigating, photographed what was left of Ganchrski's precious car on Friday. They told Ganchrski that the same thing happened elsewhere in the neighborhood.

"I called my insurance this morning, unfortunately I have liability coverage and they said it doesn't cover fire," Ganchrski said. "So, I guess this one's on me."

No arrests have been made so far.

Investigators do not know if this particular arson is related to the other recent arsons in Chelsea.

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