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Oakland Gardens Man Arrested in Explosive Tobacco Treating Operation

Queens resident and two other men arrested in Long Island after they allegedly caused an explosion and fire while treating tobacco.

An Oakland Gardens man was arrested after he and two other man allegedly caused an explosion and fire during a “tobacco treating” operation, Nassau County police said.

Davinder Singh, 48, who lives on 69th Avenue in Oakland Gardens, was arrested following a Sept. 15 incident in Hicksville just before 1:30 a.m.

Two other men – Dinesh Arora, 38, of Hicksville, and Surender Bhatty, 63, of Illinois - were also arrested by arson and bomb squad detectives.

The defendants were allegedly involved in a process of treating tobacco for use in hookah pipes in Arora’s basement, police said.

The operation involved treating the tobacco with acetone, which created a highly volatile and explosive atmosphere.

During the production and packaging of the tobacco, an explosion and fire erupted. The Hicksville Fire Department and officers from the Second Precinct responded, extinguishing a small fire in the basement, police said.

No injuries were reported.

Both Singh and Bhatty are alleged to have fled the scene prior to the arrival of the responding units. Arora was arrested on reckless endangerment charges at the scene and was arraigned Sept. 17 at Hempstead’s First District Court.

Singh and Bhatty were arrested on Sept. 17 at Arora’s home on arson and reckless endangerment charges. They will be arraigned Wednesday at the First District Court.

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