A Queens man is under arrest after police say he started a number of fires at two malls in the borough. NY1's Michael Herzenberg filed the following report.
Crime scene tape cordoned off an area outside the Rego Center mall Monday evening after firefighters say someone sparked a small fire in Sears.
"Alarms started going off, and they told us, 'Try to get everyone out of the store,' and we evacuated the building," said one person at the scene.
Workers say some stores shut down for hours while police investigated.
"There was a lot of action going on there," said one person at the scene. "Too many police cars and too many police officers, and a lot of, lot of fire engines and stuff."
Emergency calls also brought first responders to fires in the Burlington Coat Factory and the Old Navy in the Rego Center mall, as well as to a fire in the Macy's in the nearby Queens Center mall.
That fire involved some clothes in the men's section. Mall workers said that the store and mall both stayed open.
"Real concern hit me when I saw one of my friends from Macy's coming out just crying," said one person at the scene.
A department store spokesperson said that two associates put out that fire before firefighters arrived.
No one was hurt in any of the fires, but many felt shaken.
"She told me that there was a fire that had broken out in her section, and she was really terrified, she was a little bit distraught with what was happening," said one person at the scene.
Police say Dereck Sumair, 23, is charged with multiple counts of arson, reckless endangerment, and criminal mischief.
Sources say he may be responsible for other fires set last week, though they would not specify which ones.