After Getting Evicted Washington-Based Dentist Sets Fire To Masks And Gowns
In a strange series of events, a dentist based in Washington decided to set fire to his gowns and masks using an accelerant inside the office. The reason behind his anger had to do with an eviction notice sent by the landlord asking for everyone in the office to leave. This happened because the rent hadn’t been paid for the month.
The dentist named Mohammad “Matt” Rafie was running A to Z Dental inside a Bellevue office building with other medical offices. Due to his actions, Rafie was charged with first-degree arson.
According to prosecutors responsible for the case, Dr. Rafie’s actions endangered everyone inside the office and building including other dentists, patients, and doctors. His actions also exposed 28 other offices to the fire and could have damaged other parts of the building including PPE (Personal Protective Equipment).
Due to the ongoing COVID-19 PANDEMIC, this equipment is already limited in supply especially items such as medical gloves, N95 respirator masks, and medical gowns. Dr. Rafie was released on March 26th after posting a $100,000 bail. He is expected to be arraigned in May.
What Happened to the Dentist?
Sometime on March 23rd, firefighters were called to the Bellevue office building to investigate and control three separate fires. The fires included a box of medical supplies in the corner, a separate box of supplies (gowns and N95 masks) in the drawer of a filing cabinet, and the third box of supplies located close to the x-ray room an a canister of oxygen. It’s important to note this was especially concerning since oxygen tanks are noted for being flammable.
While the sprinkler system turned on right away, firefighters had to push through and extinguish the flames. The firefighters investigated the root cause and found accelerants around the office.
Dr. Rafie was also asked by the fire department to answer questions related to the fires. The dentist stated he was taking the time to clean out equipment when he mistakenly knocked over a canister of oxygen, which led to the fire starting. However, Dr. Rafie’s car appeared to have a light inside and was eventually arrested.
A to Z Dental has been operational in the Bellevue building since 2017 under Dr. Rafie’s guidance. According to investigators, Dr. Rafie was going to be evicted from his office space due to not paying rent in 2020. Evidence also highlighted financial concerns involving Dr. Rafie based on challenging gambling habits.
When the investigators went through the dentist’s home, they found various hidden clothes doused with accelerants in a suitcase. These accelerants were noted to be the same as the ones found in his office. Along with the accelerants, the investigators also located a separate water jug and a butane lighter for moving the accelerant to the office.
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