Modified: September 8, 2017 1:56pm
Erie County District Attorney John J. Flynn joins the Lackawanna Police Department and Crime Stoppers Buffalo in requesting information to help solve an arson in Lackawanna that injured a family, including two young children. Up to $1,000 from Crime Stoppers Buffalo and $10,000 from the Muslim Public Affairs Council (MPAC) will be awarded to those who can help authorities arrest or indict the person or people responsible for starting the fire on April 22, 2017 at 3:36 a.m. at 97 Ingham Avenue, putting four families and more than a dozen children in harm’s way.
“This fire began in a rear entranceway to the multi-unit home, trapping the Soliman family in their rear upper apartment and forcing the parents and their 6 month old, three-year-old and four-year-old to be rescued from a second story window,” says Chief James Michel of the Lackawanna Police Department.
Two of the children were seriously injured in the fire. Four-year-old Zainab suffered from smoke inhalation and a partially collapsed lung. Three-year-old Zaid had third degree burns and was sent to Strong Memorial where he received skin grafts.
Their parents were also seriously injured. The mother, Claudia, had to be put into a medically induced coma and was sent to the ECMC burn unit. The father, Khaled, had a broken/crushed foot and a fractured spine.
Khaled jumped out of the window with Zainab in his arms. However, Lackawanna firefighters had to rescue Claudia and Zaid. The six-month-old was thrown out the window and safely caught.
The family credits the quick work of Lackawanna firefighters for saving their lives. During the fire investigation, Erie County Sheriff’s detectives found evidence of an accelerant at the origin of the fire.
“The residents were awoken from a sound sleep by this fire and had no way out,” says DA Flynn. “Two young children and their parents suffered needlessly and it’s a miracle no one died. We won’t rest until we find out who is responsible.”
“Someone out there may know something that could help authorities seeking justice in this case,” says Kevin Hoffman, Crime Stoppers Buffalo Chairman. “We hope our reward plus the significant contribution from MPAC will provide some incentive to come forward.”
"Law enforcement officials have been working very hard on this case, but they need help from the public to bring the person who caused so much pain and suffering to young children and their parents off the streets, “says Yaser Soliman from MPAC.
The Erie County District Attorney’s Office is also hoping someone will recognize a person of interest who was captured on surveillance video riding a bike near 97 Ingham shortly before the fire was reported.
Anyone with information regarding this crime, can report an anonymous tip to Crime Stoppers Buffalo at 716-867-6161 or through the Crime Stoppers Buffalo website at www.crimestoppersbuffalo.com or email the information to firstname.lastname@example.org.
If Crime Stoppers determines that a reward is appropriate, in its sole discretion, it will pay one reward. If multiple persons provide information leading to the arrest of the person(s) responsible for the homicide, only one reward will be paid. In that case, Crime Stoppers will determine how the reward will be divided among the individuals who provided the tips.