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Family Forced To Toss 4 Kids From Roof

Family forced to toss 4 kids from roof after landlord upset about unpaid rent allegedly sets apartment ablaze with them inside.

A New York City landlord upset about unpaid rent set a staircase on fire with the second-floor tenants still inside, causing them to toss their kids down to neighbors from the roof, authorities say. Six children and two adults had to be rescued.

Rafiqul Islam, 66, is facing eight counts of attempted murder, arson and assault, the New York City Fire Department said Friday. Officials say he was angry the tenants stopped paying rent and refused to move out.

The fire happened Sept. 26 at a two-story apartment building in Brooklyn.

Investigators soon found video showing an unidentified man wearing a mask and hood enter and leave the building where the fire took place before the 911 call was placed, officials told New York station WPIX.

FDNY said marshals spent a month conducting a video canvas to verify the suspect’s identity before allegedly finding an image of Islam with his hood and mask down.

“When the fire first started people speculated it was him,” one neighbor told local CBS affiliate WCBS. “I just see him usually just walking around, going house to house to the houses that he owns, but I’m just shocked that he got arrested.”

Islam had allegedly threatened to cut off the gas and electricity to tenants in the past, WPIX reported. He had also previously threatened to set the home on fire if the rent continued to go unpaid, officials reportedly told the station.

WCBS reported on the harrowing rescue. Shatfiqul Islam (unclear on relation to suspect) told the outlet he and his roommates were sleeping on the building’s first floor when they were awoken by someone screaming “fire.” They ran outside and to the back.

“We’re all outside, and then we see they’re on the roof. Like, six kids and a mother, they’re all on the roof, and father,” Shatfiqul Islam said. “They’re trying to throw the kids, and tell us, ‘Take them, take them.’”

Shatfiqul Islam said he and his roommates caught four of the kids and the parents jumped. Firefighters went into the home and rescued the other two kids.

“They were screaming,” neighbor Sahil Uddin said. “By the time really the kids got out, the whole house got smoked up right away. Couldn’t see nothing. It was really bad.”

According to WCBS, seven people were taken to the hospital with minor injuries. The fire department said 60 fire and EMS personnel responded to the scene and it took an hour to get the fire under control.

Rafiqul Islam remains in jail, records show.

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