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Published: Friday, 1/31/2014 - Updated: 2 years ago

Owner of apartment building charged in deaths of 2 Toledo firefighters

Ray Abou-Arab. Ray Abou-Arab.

The owner of a North Toledo apartment building where two firefighters died Sunday in a fire was charged today with murder and arson.

Ray Abou-Arab, 61, who owns 528 Magnolia St., was charged in Toledo Municipal Court today with two counts of aggravated murder and two counts of aggravated arson in relation to the fire at that apartment building. Toledo firefighters Stephen Machcinski, 42, and James Dickman, 31, died while fighting a fire at the building.

Mr. Abou-Arab was arrested today at 2:20 p.m. and at 3:18 p.m. was booked into the Lucas County jail. According to jail records, the suspect was arrested by Toledo police at the Safety Building.

Mr. Abou-Arab, of 1311 Sierra Dr., Oregon, is accused in court documents of setting the fire. The documents state Mr. Abou-Arab entered the building's garage and stayed there for more than a minute. He then entered a store front at the same location. Immediately after he left the garage, an occupant of the apartment adjacent to the garage noticed the wall was on fire.

The court documents state that the "origin and cause investigation" determined Mr. Abou-Arab used an ignitable liquid inside the garage to cause the fire

Investigating agencies have included Toledo fire investigators, Toledo police, the FBI, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives, the State Fire Marshal, and the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health.

Investigators were back on the scene of the fire in North Toledo today. Investigators were back on the scene of the fire in North Toledo today.
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Family members at Mr. Abou-Arab's Oregon home declined to comment today about the charges.

Toledo Mayor D. Michael Collins, who was in Sandusky today for Dickman's funeral, told the fallen firefighter's family about the charges. The mayor said police executed search warrants on Thursday at Mr. Abou-Arab's home, his vehicle, and the fire scene.

The mayor said Private Machcinski's family was already aware of the charges.

"We just went through the service and now we have to relay to the family that this [the fire call] was in response to an alleged criminal act," the mayor said.

The mayor declined to say what evidence was taken from any of the searched locations or how it helped investigators zero-in on Mr. Abou-Arab.

Officials are planning on hosting a news conference today, although a time has not yet been scheduled.

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