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Arson attempt probed at Cook County commissioner's office

Monday, July 14, 2008
Chicago Tribune
by Hal Dardick

Chicago police were investigating an attempted arson that took place Sunday night at Cook County Commissioner William Beavers' South Side office, police said.

A neighbor saw someone on the roof of the office, 2552 E. 79th St., about 10 p.m., police said Monday afternoon, citing preliminary reports. The neighbor notified police, and Chicago firefighters responded to pour water on gasoline found on the roof to dissipate it, said Officer Dan O'Brien, a police spokesman.

No fire was actually set.

"I understand [investigators were] out there today. Last night somebody poured gasoline on the roof and the building next door," Beavers said. "It was an attempted arson."

When Beavers was asked if he thinks he was a target, he said: "It was not me."

O'Brien could not provide further information but said "any sort of motive is under investigation."

Chris Imsaih, who owns Beavers' district office building as well as a neighboring apartment building, said an electrician in the apartment building heard a noise and went outside. From a landing, Imsaih said, he saw a gasoline can on the roof of Beavers' office building.

Imsaih said gasoline was spread all over the roof of the office building. He said it appeared someone climbed stairs on the apartment building and used a landing to reach the roof of the office building.

The Chicago police bomb and arson section was called to the scene. Bomb and arson detectives declined to comment on the investigation Monday.

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