Firefighters Deal With Numerous Garage Fires in Elmwood Village

Two Firefighters injured, one suspect in custody


BUFFALO, NY (WBEN) - Buffalo firefighters were kept busy in the early morning hours of Tuesday, dealing with a rash of garage fires in the Elmwood Village.

Firefighters fought five different fires scattered around the neighborhood on Highland, Elmwood, Cleveland, and Penhurst. The call for the first fire happened just after midnight, and crews responded to the fifth fire on Penhurst Park around 3:30 in the morning.

Buffalo Police announced Tuesday morning that they have taken an individual in custody in connection with "at least five" overnight garage fires in the Elmwood Village area. According to police, damage from the fires is estimated at $828,000

The suspect is Nathan Wasyl of Buffalo. According to Erie County District Attorney John Flynn, Wasyl, 20, broke into the garages to steal change from the cars inside. He then lit the cars on fire using a lighter. Wasyl was later found by police at a garage on Middlesex Avenue.

"After the first couple of garage fires came in, (Buffalo Police) saturated the area," Fire Commissioner Bill Renaldo told reporters. "They had a number of cars and that's how they were able to apprehend (Wasyl) near the Middlesex area."

Two firefighters were injured over the course of the evening battling the fires, suffering minor burns. One has already returned to work while the other could miss up to two weeks of work after burns to the face and neck.

Wasyl has since been charged with 20 different crimes. He received five counts of criminal mischief and reckless endangerment, three counts of burglary in the third degree, one count of burglary in the second degree (because of the injury to the firefighter), a trespassing charge, plus five counts of arson in the third. .

A woman who is an Assistant District Attorney for Erie County was one of the victims of the house fires. Because of his, Erie County District Attorney John Flynn said he will recuse his office from prosecution. Instead, someone from another district attorney’s office will prosecute Wasyl in the future after motions on Wednesday. That decision is up to a Supreme Court judge.

Wasyl is scheduled to have a felony hearing this Friday.


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