NYC: Man arrested for allegedly setting fires in his own restaurant amid COVID pandemic

A Queens restaurant owner was busted for starting several small fires in his own eatery — likely due to financial woes amid the COVID-19 pandemic, according to officials and sources.

Asif Raja, 54, of New Jersey, allegedly used a flammable liquid to set multiple fires inside the Ignited Restaurant & Lounge on Steinway Street restaurant near 30th Avenue in Astoria the night of Aug. 4, officials said Sunday.

Video released by the FDNY shows Raja climbing a ladder and lighting a fire on the ceiling of the eatery. He is also seen pouring the liquid on tables and chairs, setting them ablaze. He ran off after the incident.

Firefighters responded to a report of a “gas odor” inside the restaurant around 10:15 p.m., at which time the building’s sprinkler system had already extinguished the flames. No firefighters or civilians were hurt.


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