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Judge rules building where blaze killed 2 firefighters can be razed

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A Lucas County judge on Friday lifted his order prohibiting the city from demolishing any part of the Magnolia Street apartment building where two city firefighters died in a fire.

Common Pleas Judge Frederick McDonald issued the ruling in the wake of the Jan. 26 fire to preserve evidence for the prosecutor’s office and defense attorneys representing Ray Abou-Arab, the owner of the building who is charged with setting the fatal blaze.

After a brief hearing, Judge McDonald said both sides have had ample time to have experts obtain and examine evidence in the case.

Mr. Abou-Arab, 61, is charged with two counts of aggravated murder, each with death-penalty specifications; two counts of murder, eight counts of aggravated arson, and one count of tampering with evidence stemming from the fire that killed Toledo fire Pvts. Stephen Machcinski, 42, and James Dickman, 31.

Defense attorney Pete Rost said his client would like to dispose of debris from the fire that is being stored off-site, as well as destroy a portion of the northern wall.

He said that while a city building inspector has recommended razing the garage, Mr. Abou-Arab intends to save the garage and the apartment above it.

Mr. Abou-Arab, who is being held in the Lucas County jail on a $5.85 million bond, is scheduled to go to trial Oct. 27.

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