By Charles Sercombe
Had Mohammed Rahman knew what he was doing when he tried to set his furnace on fire, he probably would not be alive today, say Hamtramck investigators.
Rahman, 43, of Belmont St., was convicted Tuesday (Nov. 16) of arson. He tried to set a house at 12120 Lumpkin on fire last November. Rahman was convicted in Wayne County Circuit Court after four days of testimony, which included arson investigators for the insurance industry.
He will be sentenced on Dec. 1 and faces a maximum prison time of 10 years. The judge in the jury trial, James Callahan, dealt harshly with Rahman, sentencing him to jail immediately after being convicted.
At the time of the arson, Rahman was a co-owner of the house and was living there with his niece, who also co-owned the house. Rahman is a self-employed home remodeler who is married and has a 3-year-old son. His wife is pregnant.
Detective Derek Suwalkowski said one reason that Judge Callahan may have sent Rahman immediately to jail is that the fire could have injured or killed not only firefighters, but also neighbors.
Insurance investigators say there was clear evidence that gasoline had been poured around the furnace and the stairwell leading up to the attic where the furnace was located. Suwalkowski said that had a gas line connected to the furnace been active “the roof would have blown off.”
And if that had happened, Suwalkowski said, it’s likely that Rahman would have been killed. Rahman did suffer minor burns to his face and hands. He denied he poured gasoline, but conceded that a can of gasoline was stored in the stairwell.
In a strange twist, it was Rahman who called the fire department about the fire. Not only that, he also drove to the fire station to further alert firefighters.
While there is no known motive for the fire, Suwalkowski said the house was insured. Rahman’s niece was not implicated in the arson. Damage to the house was contained to the attic and roof.