John A. Gomes, 51, has been charged with felony counts of reckless endangerment and arson after a fire was sparked by his amateur sword-making which led to the damage or destruction of over 30 buildings. A certain total number of buildings affected will be determined after the conclusion of the investigation into the matter.
Gomes was trying to forge steel in his backyard with a burn barrel to try and forge a steel after he saw an episode of “Forged in Fire” and thought to take it upon himself to do the same. High winds and the downtown buildings that were very close to each other led to the inferno quickly spreading, displacing at least 20 people. The smoke was visible on Albany radar. Gomes and his family insist that this was not a crime, but a terrible accident, as they lost their home as well. (source) 2:20 p.m. ET December 2, 2017