A firebug man has been arrested on Tuesday, Aug. 17, after allegedly starting at least 13 garbage fires and attempting to burn down a restaurant in Manhattan.

Alex Blodgett, a 39-year-old man, has been nabbed in possession of lighter fluid while authorities were putting out a blaze he allegedly started in the Loulou Petit Bistro & Speakeasy, according to the New York Post.

Police also linked the serial arsonist to a series of garbage fires all over Manhattan, which started at around 2 a.m. that night.

“He was on a rampage,” Mathias Van Leyden, owner of the restaurant, said. “I don’t know what his reasons were. There are a lot of crazy people on the streets these days.”

Witnesses say that he poured lighter fluid all over the outdoor dining area of the establishment before lighting the mezzanine on fire, ABC affiliate WABC reported.

“[The owner] saw a guy trying to light here, kicked him off his property but ended up lighting the deck here first and then he threw something in here and lit this on fire,” Jonathan Torres, the general manager of the restaurant, said.

The owner has assured that the damage to the restaurant was not extensive, saying “The only damage was the outdoor dining section and part of the facade, and I’m already working on rebuilding.”

The employees of the restaurant and residents of the area were shocked by the incident, especially as the locals frequented the establishment a lot during the pandemic.

“This has been such a wonderful space for everyone during the pandemic, serving people, gone out of their way to make the place beautiful and inviting, it's absolutely horrible,” Robert Valin, a resident of the area, said.

Police have arrested Blodgett and are putting him through a psychiatric evaluation. His motivations for the crime remain unclear, and it is not known as of press time what charges he will be facing.

Leyden has remained optimistic despite his restaurant almost being burned down, saying that he plans to make the freshly burned areas even better than before.

“I opened this restaurant three weeks before the pandemic. We survived and thrived during the pandemic. This is not going to stop me,” he concluded.

A restaurant in Manhattan was decimated by a fire after Alex Blodgett attempted to burn it down in a series of fires that he started in a single night. This is a representational image. Daniel Tausis/Unsplash.

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