memorial

*A makeshift Staten Island memorial for Eric Garner burned down Monday night from what the FDNY ruled an “accidental candle fire.” The fire came after Garner’s family had spent the day attending events across the city honoring Martin Luther King Jr. Day.

Garner, 43, died this summer after being put into a fatal chokehold by a white New York City police officer.

Cynthia Davis, a spokeswoman for the family, told The Huffington Post Tuesday morning they believe the blaze to have been an accident.

“The police department explained to me what happened,” said Davis, who works at the National Action Network. She said officers offered to show her surveillance footage of the memorial, which they said showed the memorial suddenly start to smoke. A passersby then saw it burst into flames and called 911.

Earlier, in a series of tweets Monday night, Garner’s daughter Erica had said she suspected arson.

But the FDNY told HuffPost that it received a call for a “debris/rubbish fire” on the sidewalk outside 204 Bay Street at 10:23 p.m., and that the flames were extinguished by 10:41 p.m. The department said it has ruled the fire an “accidental candle fire.”

Davis said she, the Garner family, and the Rev. Al Sharpton had held a candlelight vigil at the memorial earlier Monday evening, but that people were carrying candles in their hands, and that there were no lit candles in the memorial itself.

It’s unclear who lit the candle that eventually set the memorial aflame.

The memorial — a collection of flowers, signs, photographs and votive candles — sprung up over the summer on the patch of sidewalk where Garner was put into a chokehold on July 17 by NYPD officer Daniel Pantaleo during an arrest for selling untaxed cigarettes.