Questions about 'suspicious' fires that destroyed Sharpton's records

Two separate fires that destroyed key tax and business records of Al Sharpton's are being examined as "suspicious" in nature.  NRO's Jillian Kay Melchior reports that the first fire in 1997 occurred as financial questions were being raised about Sharpton's campaign for New York city mayor.  The second fire happened in 2003 and destroyed records beloning to his National Action Network – one day after Sharpton declared his candidacy for president.

The first fire began in the early hours of April 10, 1997, in a hair-and-nail salon one floor below Sharpton’s campaign headquarters at 70 West 125th Street. From the start, investigators deemed the fire “suspicious” because of “a heavy volume of fire on arrival” and because many of the doors remained unlocked after hours, according to the New York Fire Department’s fire-and-incident report. As the fire crept upward into Sharpton’s headquarters, it destroyed nearly everything, including computers, files, and campaign records, the Reverend’s spokesperson at the time told Newsday, adding that “we have lost our entire Manhattan operation.” But a source knowledgeable about the investigation tells National Review Online that Sharpton’s office was mostly empty, and that the damage was not extensive.
 
Top city officials, including then-mayor Rudy Giuliani, said initial suspicions centered on the hair-and-nail salon, not on Sharpton’s campaign, Newsday reported. The fire department sent the case as an arson/explosion investigation to the New York Police Department. By the time of publication of this report, the NYPD had not provided the records requested by National Review Online on December 16, 2014, but it confirmed that the investigation had been closed without an arrest.
[...]
 
Six years later, on January 23, 2003 — one day after Sharpton filed paperwork to create a presidential exploratory committee — another fire caused heavy damage at National Action Network, located at 1941 Madison Avenue. (The Federal Election Commission (FEC) later determined that Sharpton had actually become a candidate no later than October 2002, although, contrary to law, he had not filed his statement of candidacy until April 2003.)
 
The battalion chief who responded to the fire initially coded it as suspicious. On the fire-and-incident report, the cause of fire is designated as “NFA [Not Fully Ascertained] — Heat from electrical equipment (Extension Cords).” But by the evening of January 24, the chief fire marshal told the New York Times that “both an eyewitness account and a physical examination by fire marshals point to the cause as accidental.”
 
Nevertheless, significant oddities surrounded both the fire and the investigation, and the story of the key eyewitness had some holes that were apparently never addressed.

One fire that destroyed records at an opportune time might be considered coincidence.  But two fires 6 years apart?  Sharpton has said in the past of his tax and financial difficulties that he's an activist, not an accountant.  Might he also be an arsonist?

The investigation of a fire involving such a high-profile black activist might or might not have been politicized.  No one was hurt in either fire, and property damage was apparently minimal.  The only things of value damaged in the fires were financial records of Sharpton's, which may have revealed wrongdoing on his part.

Coincidence?  Or conspiracy?

Two separate fires that destroyed key tax and business records of Al Sharpton's are being examined as "suspicious" in nature.  NRO's Jillian Kay Melchior reports that the first fire in 1997 occurred as financial questions were being raised about Sharpton's campaign for New York city mayor.  The second fire happened in 2003 and destroyed records beloning to his National Action Network – one day after Sharpton declared his candidacy for president.

The first fire began in the early hours of April 10, 1997, in a hair-and-nail salon one floor below Sharpton’s campaign headquarters at 70 West 125th Street. From the start, investigators deemed the fire “suspicious” because of “a heavy volume of fire on arrival” and because many of the doors remained unlocked after hours, according to the New York Fire Department’s fire-and-incident report. As the fire crept upward into Sharpton’s headquarters, it destroyed nearly everything, including computers, files, and campaign records, the Reverend’s spokesperson at the time told Newsday, adding that “we have lost our entire Manhattan operation.” But a source knowledgeable about the investigation tells National Review Online that Sharpton’s office was mostly empty, and that the damage was not extensive.
 
Top city officials, including then-mayor Rudy Giuliani, said initial suspicions centered on the hair-and-nail salon, not on Sharpton’s campaign, Newsday reported. The fire department sent the case as an arson/explosion investigation to the New York Police Department. By the time of publication of this report, the NYPD had not provided the records requested by National Review Online on December 16, 2014, but it confirmed that the investigation had been closed without an arrest.
[...]
 
Six years later, on January 23, 2003 — one day after Sharpton filed paperwork to create a presidential exploratory committee — another fire caused heavy damage at National Action Network, located at 1941 Madison Avenue. (The Federal Election Commission (FEC) later determined that Sharpton had actually become a candidate no later than October 2002, although, contrary to law, he had not filed his statement of candidacy until April 2003.)
 
The battalion chief who responded to the fire initially coded it as suspicious. On the fire-and-incident report, the cause of fire is designated as “NFA [Not Fully Ascertained] — Heat from electrical equipment (Extension Cords).” But by the evening of January 24, the chief fire marshal told the New York Times that “both an eyewitness account and a physical examination by fire marshals point to the cause as accidental.”
 
Nevertheless, significant oddities surrounded both the fire and the investigation, and the story of the key eyewitness had some holes that were apparently never addressed.

One fire that destroyed records at an opportune time might be considered coincidence.  But two fires 6 years apart?  Sharpton has said in the past of his tax and financial difficulties that he's an activist, not an accountant.  Might he also be an arsonist?

The investigation of a fire involving such a high-profile black activist might or might not have been politicized.  No one was hurt in either fire, and property damage was apparently minimal.  The only things of value damaged in the fires were financial records of Sharpton's, which may have revealed wrongdoing on his part.

Coincidence?  Or conspiracy?