Arrest in Central Warehouse fire case

Thumbnail image for central warehouse fire sebastien1Albany police say they've arrested a Rensselaer contractor for illegally removing piping from Central Warehouse last Friday -- and they allege sparks from the saw used to cut the pipe ignited the building's cork insulation. [TU] [CBS6]

The APD says the contractor had been an agreement with owner to remove the pipe -- but it ended this past June, which is why the contractor was arrested on charges for burglary, grand larceny and criminal mischief. They allege he has taken more than 200,000 pounds of pipe valued at more than $26,000 in the time since the agreement ended. [CBS6] [APD]

Update: The full press release from the APD is after the jump.

Earlier: Fire at Central Warehouse

photo: Sebastien B


Rensselaer Man Arrested in Central Warehouse Fire

A joint investigation by the Albany Police and Fire Departments and Albany County District
Attorney's Office led to the arrest of a 35 year old Rensselaer man yesterday afternoon.

George Ellis, of 1619 5th Street was charged with Burglary 3rd, Grand Larceny 3rd and Criminal
Mischief 4th. He was arraigned in Albany City Criminal Court and remanded to Albany County

The fire, which started last Friday afternoon, was apparently caused by excessive sparking from
sawing through metal pipes inside the 11 story building. The sparks caught the cork insulation on fire and spread throughout the building.

The multi-alarm fire took Albany firefighters several days to get under control.

Ellis is alleged to have gone inside the building with three of his employees and cut metal piping with a demo saw between this past July and October 22, the day of the fire. During that time period Ellis allegedly took over 200,000 pounds of pipe valued at over $26,000. The pipe was transported and sold to Kelman's Scrap Yard in Cohoes.

The initial investigation had determined that Ellis was inside the building with his employees on the day the fire started. He had originally contracted with the current owner to be inside the building to salvage piping but that agreement ran out this past June. Since that time period he had no permission to be in the building.

The City of Troy, Green Island, Watervliet and Cohoes assisted the Albany Fire Department
during the initial fire call.

The New York State Police and New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control assisted in
the fire investigation.

The investigation is still on-going.


200,000 pounds seems a lot, but I do certainly remember seeing *a lot* of piping on the ceilings of the upper floors. Multi-layered networks of pipe would run an entire level sometimes; like this (yes, I know, it looks like any other pipe :)

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