A Dunkirk man has been charged following an alleged arson in the city. Dunkirk firefighters responded to a call at the former AlTech Wire Mill on Lucas Avenue Sunday at 6:45 p.m. for the report of a structure fire. Upon arrival at smoke coming from the roof of the building. Firefighters had to force entry into the building. Upon entering, they found a small room that had been filled with wire and ignited to burn the insulation off the wire. The fire was extinguished using a handline stretched into the building.
While firefighters were battling the blaze, Dunkirk Police set up a perimeter because arson was suspected.
Luis A. Reyes, 32, of Antelope Street, was found near the fire scene and later charged following an investigation.
Luis A. Reyes
It is alleged Reyes had entered the building unlawfully, filled an old shipping barrel with copper wire, ignited it to melt the insulation off the wire with intention of stealing it and selling it as scrap metal. However, the fire burned out of control causing significant damage to the interior of the room.
When Reyes was located, he was found to be in possession of tools commonly used to commit crimes of this nature.
He was arrested and charged with third-degree burglary, a class D felony; fourth-degree arson, a class E felony; attempted petit larceny, a class B misdemeanor; and possession of burglar's tools, a class A misdemeanor. Reyes was remanded to Chautauqua County Jail with no bail.
This was the second time in the past week that both Dunkirk police and fire departments responded to this building and the fourth time in the past year. The theft of copper wire is common. The public is encouraged to call the police if they observe any suspicious activity.