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Published: Monday, 2/3/2014 - Updated: 8 months ago

$5M bond set for suspect in blaze that killed 2 firefighters

About 50 firefighters attend arraignment

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Ray Abou-Arab, with his attorney James MacHarg, left, is arraigned in Toledo Municipal Court today. Ray Abou-Arab, with his attorney James MacHarg, left, is arraigned in Toledo Municipal Court today.
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A total bond of $5 million was set today for the man suspected of starting the fire that killed two Toledo firefighters a little more than a week ago.

Ray Abou-Arab, 61, was arraigned today in Toledo Municipal Court on two charges of aggravated murder and two charges of aggravated arson. Retired Judge Denise Ann Dartt ordered Mr. Abou-Arab continued to be held in the Lucas County jail.

Judge Dartt set bond for each murder charge at $2 million, and each arson charge at $500,000.

The courtroom was packed with about 50 firefighters from Local 92 and their supporters, who met at their union hall at 714 Washington St. at 8 a.m. and walked together to the courthouse. Several residents of the apartment complex were also at the hearing.

Mr. Abou-Arab wore a suicide gown in court.

Mr. Abou-Arab, of 1311 Sierra Dr. in Oregon, is accused of setting the fire at a two-story apartment building he owned at 528 Magnolia St. on Sunday, Jan. 26. Two firefighters who responded to the blaze -- Pvts. Stephen Machcinski and James Dickman -- were pronounced dead later that day at Mercy St. Vincent Medical Center after being rescued from inside the building where they had become trapped.

James MacHarg, a public defender who is Mr. Abou-Arab's private attorney in the case, asked that police secure the crime scene so that defense experts can analyze any materials found there. A hearing will be held Wednesday in Municipal Court to discuss the request; police were ordered to secure the scene until then.

Officials for the Toledo Fire Department had no immediate comment, saying there would be a news conference this afternoon.

A large group of Toledo firefighters attend the arraignment of Ray Abou-Arab in Toledo Municipal Court. Mr. Abou-Arab is charged with aggravated arson and two counts of aggravated murder in the deaths of Toledo firefighters Stephen A. Machcinski and James Dickman. A large group of Toledo firefighters attend the arraignment of Ray Abou-Arab in Toledo Municipal Court. Mr. Abou-Arab is charged with aggravated arson and two counts of aggravated murder in the deaths of Toledo firefighters Stephen A. Machcinski and James Dickman.
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Toledo Firefighters Local 92 President Jeffrey Romstadt said the union put out the word Sunday to ask firefighters to join the march from the union hall on Washington Street to the Toledo Municipal Court before the arraignment.

“The idea behind this is just making sure that we have a presence there,” he said. “Usually family show up for arraignments to make sure that things happen correctly, and we’ll be there to give our support to fallen brothers.”

Mr. Romstadt said firefighters have been feeling “a lot of anger” and other emotions since Friday, when Mr. Abou-Arab was arrested.

The firefighters left the union hall just before 8:30 a.m. and walked down Erie Street. A couple motorists who spotted the firefighters, many of whom wore TFD jackets, honked as the group walked down the street.

A pretrial hearing was scheduled for Feb. 10 in the case.



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