(STMW) — A 20-year-old northwest suburban man triggered a dangerous weekend brush fire by throwing a burning firecracker into grass alongside a trail, Lake County prosecutors said Monday.
“He saw it explode,” Assistatnt State’s Attorney Stella Veytsell said as Gabriel Horwich of Buffalo Grove appeared in court to face felony criminal damage to property charges.
The fire blazed for hours and forced Buffalo Grove firefighters to evacuate part of a nearby subdivision as they struggled to control the flames.
The fire also burnt utility lines and poles in the area, possibly causing up to $100,000 in damages, she said.
Bond for Horwich was set at $10,000.
His attorney said Horwich didn’t intentionally try to set a fire.
“There was no intent to injure anyone or cause any damage,” Stephen Simonian said.
Firefighters responded to Buffalo Grove Road and Brandywyn Lane about 1 p.m. and found a fire in an open field that was spreading towards nearby homes, according to Buffalo Grove police.
Nearby streets were closed for four hours as crews fought the two-alarm fire, a release from police said. Though no homes were burned, the fire came to within 15 feet of them, and nearby Commonwealth Edison power lines and equipment suffered damage.
An off-duty Morton Grove police officer saw four people running from the scene where illegal fireworks had been set off, according to the release. He identified them for local police, who took one in for questioning.
Horwich, of the 400 block of Cedar Court North in Buffalo Grove, will next appear in court on Aug. 8 in Waukegan.
(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2012. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)