New York man arrested after apartment fire; explosive materials found

by Reuters
Wednesday, 16 September 2020 16:42 GMT

Sept 16 (Reuters) - A New York City man was arrested early on Wednesday after he was injured in a fire at his apartment, where authorities later found chemicals that could be used to make bombs and instructions on how to make them, police said.

Marak Squires, 37, was charged with reckless endangerment, and was held in a New York City jail without bond pending a hearing, a police spokesman said.

About 60 firefighters were called to his apartment in the Astoria neighborhood in the Queens borough on Tuesday afternoon, officials said. After fire crews put the flames out, Squires was taken to the hospital with burns on his hands, police said.

"Because of his emotional state, he was taken to a Manhattan hospital for observation," police said in a release.

Hours after the fire, fire marshals found "a number of chemicals" including about 40 pounds of potassium nitrate, a lawn fertilizer that can also be used in making bombs, police said. Police and fire marshals also found books describing how to make bombs.

While potassium nitrate can be used in bombs, it is legal to own and can be used to both fertilize lawns and remove tree stumps.

"We had chemicals in certain amounts that gave us concern about what they were used for and what they could make together," John Miller, deputy commissioner of Intelligence and Counterterrorism told WABC television.

Police said no assembled devices were found in the residence.

It was unclear if other charges were pending against Squires.

An investigation is underway by the Joint Terrorism Task Force and the FBI, police said. (Reporting by Rich McKay in Atlanta; Editing by David Gregorio)

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