Posted at: 10/10/2013 5:27 PM
| Updated at: 10/10/2013 6:17 PM
By: Abigail Bleck
SCHENECTADY -- As fire fighters worked to put out the fire at 22 Mynderse Street on Wednesday, investigators, police and even prosecutors were working simultaneously to find out who set it.
Surveillance cameras, operated by the city, and information from neighbors that a man who earlier helped a tenant move out later returned to the multi-family house around the time that the fire broke out led detectives to the person they believe is responsible: 25 year old Matthew Odell Tolliver.
"They did not know his name but they knew his description and based on that we started our investigation into identifying who that was," explains Schenectady Police Commissioner Wayne Bennett.
Tolliver is one of thirty arson arrests in Schenectady in the past 18 months. A new task force, with specialized arson training, is helping the city to crack down on what has become a significant problem.
"Arson is a difficult crime. It's a crime that consumes a lot of the evidence," said Schenectady County District Attorney Bob Carney at a news conference Thursday announcing the arrest.
The fire may be out on Mynderse Street and the man accused of setting it behind bars but authorities made it very clear that there are other open cases in Schenectady and Tolliver could face additional charges.
"There is more to be done here, to say the least. If anyone has information we need to know about the individual who was involved then they need to contact the police department or fire department so we can pursue that," added Bennett.
Schenectady Fire Chief DellaRocco was one of the injured; he was back on the job Friday. A second fire fighter will likely require surgery for the injuries he sustained in the fire.
Matthew Tolliver was previously on probation, according to Bennett.