Families of Lackawanna fire seeking answers

Posted at 11:38 PM, May 11, 2017
and last updated 2017-05-11 23:38:39-04

The early morning of April 22nd is a moment Yaser Soliman will never forget.

“The pain and suffering this family has suffered is extraordinary,” said Soliman.

His family and three other families awoke to find their Lackawanna apartment building engulfed in flames. There was no way out.

“From the time that my nephew was pulled out of the building by firefighters and resuscitated on the spot because he wasn't breathing,” said Soliman. “From the time that my niece fell from the second story window on the concrete and looked at her father as he told her, ‘don't die.’”

Four Muslim families lived at the now condemned building on Ingham Avenue. They believe the fire was set on purpose.

Before the fire, they heard splashing in the hallway.

Police are considering arson as a possible cause.

Community leaders are pleading with law enforcement, begging them to speed-up their investigation.

“We really have been frustrated with the lack of information given to the family in fact there is no information,” said Dr. Khalid Gazi with the Muslim Public Affairs Council of WNY.

“That individual that set this fire is still at large. It's essential that we catch him and bring them to justice and we're not going to stop until we do,” said Senator Tim Kennedy at a media conference in front of the burned home.

Seven people went to the hospital after the fire. Three are still there.

Now, there is a $10,000 reward for anyone that provides the Lackawanna Police Department with information leading to a suspect.

The Lackawanna Police has not confirmed they are treating this case as an arson, but have sought the help of the Erie County Sheriff's Office crime lab.

The struggling families are asking for Western New York's help, both with a GoFundMe page, and with information.