Arson investigation underway after trucks set on fire in Islip

Kristin Thorne Image
Monday, August 1, 2016
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Kristen Thorne has the details.

ISLIP, Long Island (WABC) -- Arson detectives in Suffolk County are investigating after several trucks were set on fire in Islip early Monday.

Police say a call came in at 4:55 a.m. for a fire at Anderson Tree Service, located on the eastbound service road of Sunrise Highway between Saxon Avenue and Commack Road.

Four vehicles were set on fire, and a building on the property suffered damage from the burning vehicles. The siding on the company's office building was melted.

Authorities believe the fire is criminal in nature, and it is unclear if more than one person is involved.

Anderson Tree has been a family-owned business for 45 years, and the owners say they can't understand why someone would do this to the company.

They say the suspect or suspects poured gasoline all over the trucks and lit them on fire, causing hundreds of thousands of dollars in damage.

"We have five trucks, and four of them were set on fire," Lizette Hyams said. "Completely destroyed."

At least one culprit was caught on surveillance cameras, seen accidentally lighting his arm on fire as he doused one of the trucks.

Suffolk police seized the video as part of their investigation. In the meantime, the question remains why someone would do this.

"It's devastating," Hyams said. "This is a family company. Forty-five years they've been in business, and to come in and find this, it's heartbreaking."

Anyone with information is asked to contact Suffolk County police.