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Police: Breakup, Booze Prompted Teen to Set Backyard Blaze

Plainfield 16-year-old allegedly set neighbor’s swingset on fire, then tossed a propane tank at the blaze.

say they didn’t have any trouble tracking down a teenage suspect who allegedly lit his neighbor’s swingset on fire, then threw a propane tank at it in a heartbreak- and alcohol-fueled spree.

Sgt. Mike Fisher said the 16-year-old, who told police he was upset after breaking up with his girlfriend, was arrested early Aug. 2 after a Sunnymere Drive homeowner reported seeing someone set the backyard blaze.

“While [police] were looking for the individual, he had walked back to his house and got into a family car and went to go his girlfriend’s house to confront her,” Fisher said. “He decided not to turn his headlights on — clue No. 1 — so they stopped him” at Sunnymere and Blakely drives.

Fisher said the teen was intoxicated when he lit the ropes of his neighbor’s swingset on fire, then ran to another neighbor’s home and ripped the propane tank off the barbecue grill before tossing it at the flames.

“This individual was angry and intoxicated and for some reason, he thought it would be a smart thing to do,” Fisher said, adding that propane tanks do not explode so easily.

But the homeowner, who asked not to be identified, said he was alarmed when he saw the propane tank in his yard.

The man said his wife was awakened by noises from the backyard around 3 a.m. Thursday. When she looked out the window, the neighbor said, she spotted the teenager standing near the fire.

"She sees this guy standing there with the fire, all these flames lighting all the ropes and the swings," the neighbor said. 

The man said he ran outside, trying to catch up with the suspect.

"As I was going to go to catch him, I ran by the fire and saw the propane tank," the neighbor said. "I was really scared."

The man, the father of two small children, said he believes the teen was trying to create an explosion. 

"He wanted to blow it up," the neighbor said. "That's where our concern is and our fear — he can easily do it again."

The neighbor said while his wife called 911, he used a fire extinguisher to put out the blaze, "just praying it didn't explode in my face," he said. The man said the incident has left his family shaken.

"We were really scared because we were like, 'Where did this come from? Who is he?'" the neighbor said, adding he had never met the teen before.

Fisher said the 16-year-old was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol and criminal damage to property. 

bobby salkeld August 13, 2012 at 04:11 AM
How about a teenager all boozed up made some stupid and irrational decisions; which many of us all do when angered or stressed and all boozed to the hilt. Perhaps it was an isolated incident...why jump to the conclusion that he has mental problems?!? And the parents fault? At 16 the child is gaining freedoms, has probably a few already...perhaps he had by being reliable and trustworthy in the past gained some freedoms that in his emotionally troubled state he abused to pour fire, by getting hammered, on an already toxic, albeit fleeting, state of mind...so many opinions backed by very little knowledge of any basic understanding of who the fuck this kid is. Smh
Saby February 02, 2013 at 03:24 PM
What happen with this trouble teen??
Saby March 29, 2013 at 12:46 AM
Hey Ray, guess what I just heard? This kid has now been charged as an adult for some dui deal. Yet another dui. You still think this is just a teen making a stupid mistake AGAIN? So here goes the question again, where are the parents? Or did this kid have another gff dump him and therefore it is ok? I think it shows that there are issues here and total lack of communication and control. So you still think this is not a big deal? How bad does it need to get to give it the right attention? Until he hurts someone or himself? The parents should get professional help so they can help the kid and the family before is too late. It could easily turn into a another "Plainfield arsonist". Or worse...
Ray March 29, 2013 at 02:55 PM
Really? You're trying to argue with me over a comment I made about a completely different situation from August. If bad things keep adding up I don't know that I wouldn't question the parents but you didn't allow me that opportunity. You added a situation and attacked. That being said and until you're willing to post using your name, (as I do), or stop by and say it to my face Mr. or Mrs. keyboard badass I have nothing more to say to you.
Saby March 31, 2013 at 03:23 PM
Haha, is that all you can say? I am sorry if you felt attacked, I am only trying to make my point. Why take it so personal? You are not the parent are you? Stop by where? Smile and have fun, don't let this get to you. I would think you are smarter than this.

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