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Skokie Explosion May Have Been Arson, Report Says

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An explosion blew out the roof of an apartment building at 8734 Kimball Av. in Skokie on Dec. 12, 2011. (Credit: CBS)

An explosion blew out the roof of an apartment building at 8734 Kimball Av. in Skokie on Dec. 12, 2011. (Credit: CBS)

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SKOKIE, Ill. (CBS) — A Skokie two-flat that destroyed by an explosion and fire last month may have been set ablaze intentionally.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports, investigators are probing the fire in the vacant two-flat at 8734 Kimball Ave. as a possible arson.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Mike Krauser reports

On Dec. 12, the two-flat apartment home went up in a fireball, alarming the neighborhood and prompting police to close busy Dempster Street nearby. Danny Hechtman, co-owner of Ken’s Diner at 3433 Dempster St., said he saw flames shooting 30 feet above the roof.

The front wall of the building and most of the roof were blown out by the explosion, and what remained of the building seemed to be on the brink of collapsing.

Now, a report obtained by Sun-Times Media’s Skokie Review says “a single burnt match” was found near a man who was injured outside.

The report says other factors suggest that an accelerant may have been used.

The man suffered spinal injuries. He is believed to be related to the building’s owner.

The man’s car was out front with the keys in the ignition. A relative drove it away, but it was later impounded.

The building was structurally unsound after the fire that investigators were unable to go inside. It has since been demolished.

The Skokie Review contributed to this report, via the Sun-Times Media Wire.

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