Condo arson strikes fears

October 20, 2006
By

JOHN RUCH

Two recent fires inside a Hyde Park Avenue condominium complex were apparently set by someone living in the building, according to residents who told the Gazette they fear for their lives.

“The whole point is, no one knows who’s doing the fires,” said a resident at 391 Hyde Park Ave. who declined to give her name. “We need to set up cameras in here because someone’s going to set a fire while I’m sleeping here.”

A Sept. 15 fire in a kind of outdoor walkway and stairwell burned the outside wall of one unit. The unit’s resident, who gave his name only as Ahmad, said the fire was right on the other side of his kitchen gas pipes.

Ahmad gave the Gazette access to the fire site. The siding was burned off and the underlying plywood scorched over an area of about 6 square feet. It appears further damage was done by firefighters making sure the fire hadn’t
crept into the wall.

The fire is “suspicious” and is under investigation, according to Boston Fire Department spokesperson Steve MacDonald. Damage was estimated at $1,000.

There does not appear to be any connection with Jamaica Plain’s recent business arson fires. MacDonald noted those fires targeted businesses late at night.

The condo fire was reported at 5:23 p.m. “We were in the house,” said the anonymous resident, referring to herself and her children. “A good Samaritan came and said there was a fire.”

She and Ahmad said there was also another fire set within the complex the previous night.

Both residents said that they believe children living in the complex are setting the fires. The complex is gated and appears to be hard to enter from the outside. Vandalism within the complex has also been a problem, they said.

Security cameras have apparently been proposed in meetings of the condo trustees, but have been controversial with management, according to the anonymous resident. The management company, posted on the building as Certified Property Management Corporation of Brookline, did not return a Gazette phone call for this article.