By Trevor Kapp and Patrick Hedlund
MANHATTAN — An apparent arsonist set fire to more than a dozen trash cans during a spree throughout Midtown Monday afternoon, authorities said.
Fire crews found a total of 16 torched trash cans between 40th and 45th streets from Fifth to Madison avenues during the approximately hour-long spree that began about 2:47 p.m., FDNY officials said.
A female suspect sparked the first blaze in a trash can near the landmark New York Public Library building at 42nd Street and Fifth Avenue, the New York Times reported.
The FDNY reported fires at at least 10 different locations, including at the intersections of East 40th Street and Fifth Avenue, East 42nd Street and Park Avenue, East 43rd Street and Madison Avenue, and East 45th Street and Madison Avenue.
Two of the fires were set inside the Grand Central subway station, the Times reported.
Authorities were reportedly eyeing a female suspect in her 50s who witnesses described as short and wheeling a shopping cart, the Times added.
A hot dog vendor at East 41st Street and Madison Avenue said he saw a woman throw a lit cigarette into a trash can at that corner, causing a small fire that was quickly put out.
Another vendor at East 41st Street and Park Avenue also reported seeing a fire at that intersection.
In all, 14 plastic bins and two metal bins were set ablaze, fire officials said.
The woman may have been behind similar fires in the area about two weeks ago, a fire official told the Times.