Landlord Faces Attempted Murder Charges After He Set Fire to Tenants' Unit with Children Inside, Police Say

Rafiqul Islam, 66, was arrested a month after the incident, where 8 adults and 2 children were able to escape

<p>FDBY/X</p> Rafiqul Islam


Rafiqul Islam

A New York landlord is facing eight counts of attempted murder charges after he allegedly set fire to a unit with tenants, including children, inside.

Rafiqul Islam, 66, was arrested on Oct. 25 according to jail records and the NYPD, regarding the incident on Sep. 26.

He allegedly set fire to the second floor apartment in the Brooklyn building because he was “angry” that the tenants stopped paying rent, the New York Fire Department said in a statement on Friday.

There were six adults and two children in the unit and they were able to escape the fire that Islam had allegedly set “to an interior staircase,” the statement reads.

He is also facing charges of second-degree arson, reckless endangerment and criminal mischief, the NYPD tells PEOPLE.

Prior to the incident, Islam had allegedly threatened to cut off the electricity and gas for the unit and said he would set it on fire if the tenants did not pay him, according to PIX11.

Court records reviewed by PEOPLE show that Islam filed a civil case against Andriana Edwards on Sept. 27 claiming that she owed him $26,592. The records show Edwards was the occupant of the second floor of the address, which was mentioned in the FDNY statement.

PEOPLE could not verify whether Edwards was among the victims or related to them. A lawyer listed for Edwards in court documents did not immediately respond to PEOPLE’s request for further information.

In a counterclaim statement filed on Oct. 26, Edwards' lawyer claimed that she and her family were "driven from the subject premises by a fire," which rendered the unit "uninhabitable."

The counterclaim also alleged that the unit was infested with mice and roaches, had lead in a wall, had windows that would not close and had water damage among a slew of other conditions that "constitutes a breach of warranty of habitability."

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Investigators were able to identify Islam through security footage in the area during their nearly month-long investigation, CBS New York reported.

"When the fire first started people speculated it was him," one neighbor told the outlet. "I just see him usually just walking around, going house to house to the houses that he owns, but I'm just shocked that he got arrested."

It wasn't immediately clear if Islam had retained an attorney or entered a plea.

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Read the original article on People.