RFD Chief: Ridgeway Ave apartment building rigged with "explosive devices"
Webster, N.Y. (WHAM) - A Webster man is behind bars, accused of rigging a Rochester property with homemade explosives. Neighbors said Eric Reynolds used to be the landlord of a Ridgeway Avenue property that 13WHAM News has confirmed is now in foreclosure.
Police are looking into whether or not that is a possible motive.
The Rochester Fire Department says Reynolds was arrested after police executed a search warrant at 64 Kircher Park in Webster. The Arson Task Force seized a cache of evidence from the Kircher Park home.
The search warrant was connected to an investigation at 401 Ridgeway Ave. in the city Monday night. Firefighters said the building was damaged by an explosion. An explosive device went off, but failed to ignite multiple containers of gasoline.
Rochester Fire Chief, James Hartman said this could have killed several people.
"Firefighters found set-ups of pales of gasoline strewn throughout the building," Hartman said. "The belief is it would have caused a huge explosion that would have damaged the building, a partial collapse, doors and windows blown out. Could have caused fire the spread to surrounding homes."
Investigators added they are unsure whether the purpose of the explosion was to cause a large fire and damage the Ridgeway Avenue building, or if the remaining containers of gasoline were meant to injure or kill first responders called to the scene to investigate an initial explosion.
"If his intent was to harm first responders, there will be additional charges," Hartman added.
Property records show the home in Webster is listed as a mailing address for a company that owned the building on Ridgeway Avenue.
According to the Rochester Arson Task Force, the investigation is focused on arson 1st charges.
The Rochester Fire Department's Arson Task Force is working with multiple agencies, including the ATF and City Police, the Rochester bomb squad, Monroe County bomb squad, Monroe County Sheriff's Department, Monroe County Fire Bureau, Monroe County HazMat team, Webster Police Department, Webster Fire Department, the New York State DEC, and the FBI.
Neighbors and Webster Village Mayor, John Cahill said Reynolds was a bully. Many said they did not know what he was capable of doing. At one point, Reynolds was banned from Village meetings for carrying a pistol and dragging a woman out of her chair during a meeting. Cahill said Reynolds was arrested for assault. He said in October of 2016, he was also arrested for pouring battery acid on one of his tenant's cars.
Reynolds will be arraigned in City Court Thursday morning.