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Series of Fires at Two Queens Malls Investigated as Arson, Officials Say

By  Ewa Kern-Jedrychowska and Janon Fisher | February 24, 2014 4:32pm | Updated on February 24, 2014 7:35pm

 A man was taken into custody by police after a series of fires broke out in two Queens malls Monday.
Queens mall firebug
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QUEENS — Police are questioning a man they believe is responsible for a series of fires Monday at stores inside the Rego Center and Queens Center malls, authorities said.

Firefighters were called to the mall at 95-15 Queens Blvd. about 3:15 p.m. regarding clothing that had been set ablaze in the Macy's at the Queens Center, FDNY spokesman Frank Dwyer said. The blaze was quickly extinguished.

The FDNY responded to another call from 96-01 Queens Blvd. about 3:30 p.m. Monday regarding clothes that were set on fire at Old Navy, Burlington Coat Factory and Sears, police and fire officials said. There was also a fire at Bed, Bath & Beyond Monday, officials said.

Deputy Chief Joseph Schiralli said he believed that the man used a cigarette lighter to start the blazes.

The fires comes on the heels of a series of blazes in Sears last Thursday and on Sunday at Staples and T.J. Maxx, according to police and mall security.

Police said investigators were questioning a man in connection to the incident.

A manager for the Rego Center Mall did not immediately return calls for comment.

The investigation is ongoing.