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Arrest made in North Tonawanda arsons

Photo provided by North Tonawanda Fire Department

Police say public tips after seeing a grainy surveillance photo from a fire scene led to the arrest of a 26-year-old City of Tonawanda man. Authorities say the man has admitted to starting eight fires late Monday night and early Tuesday.

Christopher Syracuse faces an initial court appearance this morning on 13-felony and misdemeanor counts on the arson wave which swept across, first, North Tonawanda, and then a fire in the City of Tonawanda.

At the peak of the fires, there were 150 fire fighters battling the blazes. While some residents were left homeless by the fires, no one was injured and no fire fighters were hurt.

North Tonawanda Police Chief William Hall says Syracuse faces a lot of charges.

"After he was picked up, he was interviewed by members of our department and the ATF and he confessed to all the fires. He's going to be charged with three B felonies, two C felonies, two A misdemeanors, five E felonies and one A misdemeanor in our city."

Syracuse will also be charged with the City of Tonawanda fire in a separate court process in Erie County courts. Investigators say they are still processing the evidence from the fire scenes and seized a car when Syracuse was taken to Police Headquarters for questioning last night. He admitted setting the fires and was charged.

Mike Desmond is one of Western New York’s most experienced reporters, having spent nearly a half-century covering the region for newspapers, television stations and public radio. He has been with WBFO and its predecessor, WNED-AM, since 1988. As a reporter for WBFO, he has covered literally thousands of stories involving education, science, business, the environment and many other issues. Mike has been a long-time theater reviewer for a variety of publications and was formerly a part-time reporter for The New York Times.