Building owner where local firefighter died charged with murder

Man charged with two counts of murder, aggravated arson.
Associated Press
Feb 1, 2014


The owner of an apartment building where two Toledo firefighters died in a fast-moving blaze was charged in their deaths Friday.


   Investigators charged Ray Abou-Arab with two counts each of aggravated murder and arson, according to court documents filed in Toledo Municipal Court.


   Abou-Arab, 61, was arrested Friday afternoon and was being held at the Lucas County jail.


   Authorities said Abou-Arab used a flammable liquid to start the fire that killed firefighters Stephen Machcinski and James Dickman on Sunday afternoon.


   Radio calls from the scene of the fire indicated the pair faced rapidly deteriorating conditions once inside the six-unit apartment building near downtown. Firefighters found them inside, carried them out and tried to save them.


   Autopsies showed Machcinski and Dickman died from burns and carbon monoxide. No one else was seriously injured in the blaze.


   According to court documents, one apartment resident told investigators that the fire broke out soon after Abou-Arab came out of a garage. Abou-Arab used an ignitable liquid inside the garage to start the fire, an investigator said in a complaint filed in court.


   About 5,000 people, including firefighters from Ohio and around the nation, attended a memorial service inside Toledo’s downtown convention center.


   At the memorial service, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown hailed Machcinski , 42, and Dickman, 31, as men of integrity who loved their families and took pride in their work.


   Machcinski, who was single, had been a firefighter for 16 years. Dickman had been on the job for six months and was previously with the Perkins Township fire department near Sandusky. He was married with a 3-year-old daughter and a 1-month-old son.


   Friends said Dickman joined the Toledo department because it was his dream to work with a big city department.


   Dickman’s funeral took place Friday in Sandusky. The funeral for Machcinski is today in Toledo.

Click here for more Register stories on Dickman.



dude, Where's my camel?


Guess he won't see that insurance money now.

He ought to be strung up.

( I suppose that makes me a ray-ciss).



This is horrible, but I question the wisdom in the rush to arrest and charge him before the two firemen are buried and grave side services completed.

Emotions are already very raw and now to learn the fire was allegedly set by the landlord. This could create a lynch mob mentality when the families and coworkers need some peace to bury and grieve their loved ones.


Seriously??? Someone allegedly committed a crime killing 2 people and you just want the police to take their time and wait till everyone is done grieving?


worse than that is making jokes


I don't think they were making a joke, but I agree why would they wait to arrest? Wait for him to skip town? Leave the country? He set a fire that KILLED 2 people. Yes people are mad and emotions are raw, but if he could do that, he also could leave town, or worse.

Sue Meredith

I think they are referring to Babymomma's post "Dude where's my camel?" Not something to joke about.






I can't understand the mentality of police waiting till the fireman are buried before they arrest the person who potentially was the arson. Doing that is the same mentality of last year not arresting the bombers in the Boston Marathon till all the victims were buried. That is absurd and so is waiting to arrest this man in Toledo.

It's so sad that hard working and dedicated people must lose their lives for some idiot like this who sets a fire or in the case of Andy Dunn another idiot choses to take out a gun and shot a Sandusky policeman. Just makes no sense why good people lose their lives for the actions of trash.


Would it have been okay to let Andy's killer go until he was buried? NO! If you kill someone, you go to jail NOW.


There are no words for this horrible crime :( RIH Stephen Machcinski and James Dickman~May GOD be with their family and friends~


My point is did they know he set this fire days ago? Most likely yes, as the long list of fires at his properties were listed in the Toledo Blade the day afterward.

Did they have the FBI, ATF and everybody keeping an eye on him? You bet they did.

He was going nowhere and waiting until both men are buried (1 day) would provide the time to families to meditate on their loved ones lives instead of ruminating on the inevitable blood lust that is so evident already.


Send that camel jockey to the electric chair!!


The camel joke is in bad taste


UNBELIEVABLE! For those two gentlemen to have lost their lives in the line of duty is tragic, but to have sacrificed themselves at the hands of a landlord arsonist is UNFORGIVABLE!


Wow, missed that entire article about the fire, that is sad, and yes if he intentionally set the fire then jail it is, those kids will never grow up with there daddy, thank goodness more good men and women weren't injured. may they rest in peace they will now look over their brothers and sisters from above. Rest in peace.

J. Hartman

Fellow members of the community, two young men lost their lives doing something probably over 95% of us lack the "manhood" to do and that was to put their own lives at risk to save others. I will even throw myself into that category as I'm not sure I could have the courage to rush into a blaze/smoke filled environment or be willing to take a bullet. What I will say is this, the men and women who protect us and save our loved ones face challenges none of us could ever imagine having to do or would even be willingly to do as such. The young men who left us too soon doing the profession of their choice in love for us should be respected and their families should have our full support in this time of tragedy. I personally did not know either of these men, but I have personally looked into the eyes of those brave men and women from several departments near and far. I know the passion is there in all I have crossed paths with and I also know they never receive the thanks for what they do on a day to day basis which we take for granted. I ask all who make the decision to leave remarks here after to be courteous, be respectful, if in a position to help the families please do so. I also ask you to say thank you if you pass any emergency response personnel as you never know when it could be your life they save. I won't elaborate on any jokes or name calling of the property owner at this point I have seen posted. Those who choose to go that path for whatever the reason, I simply ask of you to glance in the mirror. Actually a long stare. Not to question your comments, but just to be thankful you are here because we do have brave men and women who make it possible to even have a glance in respective mirror. RIP gentleman, thank you for your service, thoughts, prayers, and without question love and support for the families! For those still actively protecting our community and the community of others, thank you! Most will never know your names or the sacrifice from you or your families, but I feel safe again with saying on the behalf of all....Thank You, Much Love and S.M.I.L.E.


I have an abundance of friends who are firefighters. They are EXTREMELY brave and put others lives in front of their own. It is a thankless job sometimes and they do ALOT more than just fight fires. I always let them know how much I admire what they do. As well as all my military friends. I ALWAYS thank them for their service, because I know I couldn't do what they do day in and day out.

Simple Enough II

I wonder, did they go in with SCBA's (Self Contained Breathing Apperatus) on?


Yes, they went in with full protective equipment, and a charged hose line.


Believe the theory is that the second floor collapsed upon them.

Simple Enough II

Thanks for the info. What a tragedy.


To Simple - I can't imagine them going into the fire without it, seeing that they were both trained firemen.

As for having this guy arrested when he was, I agree that he should have been done so as soon as they had all the evidence that they needed to do so and maybe - even if they knew ahead of time that it was him - they just needed solid proof and yesterday they got it back and it was unfortunate that the timing of it came on the date of James' funeral. Having been a medic for 6 years many years ago I often worked hand in hand with firefighters and to know that these two men lost their lives because someone purposely decided to set this fire that could have also taken the lives of his tenants is beyond words! The man needs to be charged not only with their murder but the attempted murder of his tenants as well. I hope this guy fries for what he did to these men!! RIP guys!!


I was told the building was basically in hoarder type condition and they became disoriented! Just a rumor. I really admire firefighters. R I P !!!!!!!

he said she said

I think that with any suspicious activity, there is an investigation. I would also think that the arson investigator was called in to verify what the firefighters had found.

I don't think when he was arrested, whether it was that day, next month, or next year matters. It will never take the sting out of the fact that he set a fire that killed the men called to save his property. The fact remains that he chose to set that fire that killed two firefighters.