Man suspected of setting 14 fires in NYC within hours, cops say

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A suspected firebug went on a rampage in Manhattan early Monday, setting more than a dozen garbage blazes — and torching an outdoor dining area that a fledgling Chelsea eatery used to survive the pandemic, cops said.

Alex Blodgett, 39, was arrested with lighter fluid around 4:15 a.m., just after first responders were called to the Loulou Petit Bistro & Speakeasy at 176 Eighth Ave. in Chelsea for an outdoor blaze, according to police.

Photos show a charred dining area in the street and a damaged front facade.

“Everybody’s OK, everybody’s safe,” the owner of the French bistro, Mathias Van Leyden, told The Post. “The only damage was the outdoor dining section and part of the facade, and I’m already working on rebuilding.

“We had a very nice outdoor section already, but it’s going to be even nicer than before,” he said.

Police believe the alleged arsonist was responsible for the fire at Loulou Petit Bistro & Speakeasy.Police believe the alleged arsonist was responsible for the fire at Loulou Petit Bistro & Speakeasy.SebsInChelsea/Twitter

Police think that suspected arsonist Alex Blodgett started setting the fires at 2:40 this morning.Police think suspected arsonist Alex Blodgett started setting the fires at 2:40 this morning.G.N.Miller/NYPost

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

Cops believe that Blodgett also set 13 other garbage fires in various spots around Manhattan, starting his string of blazes around 2:40 a.m., police said.

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

Police arrested the suspect Alex Blodgett with lighter fluid around 4:15 a.m.Police arrested suspect Alex Blodgett with lighter fluid around 4:15 a.m.G.N.Miller/NYPost

Blodgett was undergoing a psychiatric evaluation at Bellevue Hospital on Monday. Charges against him were pending, police said.

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