Onondaga County Sheriff's detectives are trying to figure out if a suspect in a fatal accident case may have been the target of an arson fire early Monday. YNN's Bill Carey says detectives are waiting, first, for the fire officials to figure out just how a fire began in the Town of Clay.
CLAY, N.Y. -- The first question greeting investigators at the scene of a trailer fire in Clay was whether they were looking at an act of revenge.
"That's something that, at this point, we're not able to rule out. But also something that we are not able, yet, to establish," said Onondaga Cuonty Sheriff Kevin Walsh said.
The trailer had been home to Muhammad Baqir. Last week, he was at the wheel of a car that collided with another vehicle along Route 57. In the other car was a Liverpool family. Meagan Patterson was killed. Her husband and the couple's three children have been hospitalized since the crash.
Baqir is facing a charge of vehicular manslaughter after telling deputies that he had snorted heroin a short time before the crash.
Just after 4 a.m. Monday, firefighters were called to a fire in what used to be the Casual Estates mobile home park. The trailer on fire was the one where Muhammad Baqir had been living.
It didn't take long for investigators to begin looking suspiciously at the fire. Was it arson? Was it specifically targeting Baqir, in retaliation for last week's deadly crash?
Baqir was never in any danger. Ever since his arrest and arraignment last week, he's been denied bail and has been held here at the Onondaga County Justice Center.
And while he remains safely behind bars, investigators will be doing the work of trying to figure out if his home was targeted. For now, they can only call the fire suspicious.
Walsh said, "Well, anytime there's a fire in a building that nobody is home in leads to suspicion. It will be up to the cause and origin people to determine whether it was a naturally occurring issue or whether it was something other than natural occurring."
And, for now, there is no timetable for resolving the unanswered questions in the fire case.