FDNY Deems Eric Garner Memorial Fire an 'Accident' After Family's Arson Claims

(Photo: Reuters/EduardoMunoz)A woman pays respect with a candle at the memorial of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, July 21, 2014.
(Photo: Reuters/EduardoMunoz)A woman pays respect with a candle at the memorial of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, July 21, 2014.
(Photo: Reuters/EduardoMunoz)Candles are seen at the memorial of Eric Garner in Staten Island, New York, July 21, 2014.
(Photo: Screen Grab via Facebook)Eric Garner, 43, lays dying in a swarm of NYPD officers and an EMT representative last summer.
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A fire that burned the Eric Garner memorial on MLK day has been ruled an accident by FDNY officials, despite claims made by his family that it was arson.

On Monday evening, the FDNY responded to the fire on Bay Street and Victory Boulevard in Tompkinsville, the same spot where Garner's chokehold death occurred last year. While the fire was extinguished, the extent of damage is yet to be determined.

"It was investigated and determined to be an accidental fire and the cause was the candle," an FDNY source told The Christian Post.

On July 17, 2014, Garner was killed by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo after being placed into a deadly chokehold and footage of the incident showed the asthmatic father of six repeatedly gasping "I can't breathe!" The case sparked nationwide protests and months of racial unrest.

Shortly after news of the memorial fire broke, Garner's daughter, Erica, took to Twitter to share her suspicions.

"Evil set my dads [SIC] memoral on fire tonight .but cant erase his legacy. rebuild 2morrow #anonymousopfurguson #OpICantBreathe," she tweeted to her 7,000 followers.

Garner's stepfather, Benjamin Carr, echoed those sentiments in an interview with NBC News.

"I'm going to rebuild it," Carr said. "Every damn time they tear it down, I'm gonna put it back."

Since Pantaleo was cleared by a Staten Island grand jury on Dec. 3, 2014, hundreds of thousands of protesters have launched demonstrations nationwide contesting the decision. The case drew parallels to the Michael Brown case, which also saw a white police officer (Darren Wilson) cleared on Nov. 24, 2014, after shooting an unarmed black man in Ferguson, Missouri, during a physical altercation.

In recent months, civil rights leaders and other prominent figures in the African-American community have called for criminal justice reform relating to the Garner case.

Last month, hip-hop moguls Jay Z and Russell Simmons personally met with New York Gov. Andrew Cuomo, in a bid to advocate change.

The governor's spokesperson, Melissa DeRosa, confirmed the meeting took place at Cuomo's Manhattan office, and said that it led to "a productive conversation about doing a top-to-bottom review of the criminal justice system, and how we can all work together to pass a reform package that ensures equality in the eyes of the law," reported the New York Post.