QUEENS — Three small dumpster fires — including one in front of the 112th Precinct station house — erupted on Austin Street in one night, deepening anxiety in a neighborhood recently targeted by a fire-starting "ninja."
All three dumpster fires set late Wednesday night into Thursday morning were lit along Austin Street, a major commercial strip in the neighborhood, fire and police officials said.
FDNY spokesman Frank Dwyer said in an email that the fires “are suspicious and are being investigated by Fire Marshals and the NYPD.”
Police have released surveillance video of a suspect wanted in connection with the dumpster fires.
A spokesman for the NYPD said Friday that the two patterns appear to be unrelated and the suspect does not match the description of the arsonist being sought in connection with the other arson pattern in the neighborhood.
The first blaze erupted in front of the 112th Precinct station house at 68-40 Austin St. on Wednesday at 11:56 p.m. The next one broke out on the same block in front of 69-30 Austin St. early Thursday at 1:24 a.m., followed by the third blaze down the block, at 69-02 Austin St., around the same time, according to the FDNY.
Dwyer described the incidents as “small debris fires” and said no injuries were reported.
According to published reports, the fire set near the precinct house damaged a parked patrol car, but police and fire officials did not confirm that information.
The string of dumpster blazes comes on the heels of a series of arsons over nearly two months in which police said a suspect, dressed like a "ninja," has targeted mostly vacant homes owned by Bukharian Jews living in the Cord Mayer section of the neighborhood, between Jewel and 65th avenues and between Queens Boulevard and the Grand Central Parkway.