Arlington Heights police announced Monday, January 10th, 2022, that detectives presented their investigation to the Cook County State’s Attorney’s Office who approved one count of Aggravated Arson to suspect Paul C. Strusiner, a male/white, age 80 formerly of 400 West Rand Road in Arlington Heights. The Aggravated Arson charge is a Class X Felony with aggravating circumstances based on the fact the defendant deliberately set fire to his apartment knowing one or more other people resided in the same building. The offender made incriminating comments to first responders to include where the defendant lived and the fact he intentionally started a fire in his apartment.
Court Mittimus is a warrant or commitment to custody or prison/jail.
The defendant, Paul C. Strusiner, has been in the care of a local hospital since Friday, January 7th, 2022, for medical treatment unrelated to the fire. Given his current in-patient status detectives will seek a court mittimus, which will include the setting of bond for the aforementioned charge. If approved, the mittimus will order the direct transfer of the defendant into the custody of the Cook County Sherriff’s Police from the hospital.
A total of six apartments at 400 W. Rand were significantly damaged by the fire and remain uninhabitable, including a unit leased by the defendant. According to the Arlington Heights Police Department, based on the nature of the mittimus process, the Arlington Heights Police Department is without a booking photo of the defendant.
Police, firefighters and paramedics from Arlington Heights responded about 12:22 a.m. Friday January 7th, 2022, a report of a fire inside a multi-unit apartment complex building at 400 West Rand Road in Arlington Heights. At the time of the first 911 call(s), it was unknown if anyone was injured or trapped inside the 4-story apartment complex. However, the fire appeared to have originated from a first-floor unit of the three-wing building. The first police/fire units on scene reported billowing smoke and flames showing, as well as extension of the fire to the second floor of the building above the unit where the fire started.
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Firefighters reported the first floor apartment unit was fully-involved with fire. Due to the extreme low temperatures, the alarm was quickly upgraded to a working fire response to assign additional firefighters and resources to the scene. Fire crews immediately conducted a transitional attack, and had water on the fire from the exterior. An interior search was established in the immediate fire area. Additional living units were also evacuated throughout the building. The main fire damage was contained to the unit of origin, and extended slightly to the unit above. Heavy smoke damage was sustained throughout the structure.
Former Resident arrested at extra alarm Stonebridge Apartment fire on Rand Road in Arlington Heights. YouTube Tips ⓘ
Responding police officers were unable to make entry into the specific unit wherein the fire was centered due to heavy smoke and fire. Instead, first-in Arlington Heights Police and Fire Department personnel conducted an expedited evacuation of the remainder of the building, to include each of the other 95 individual apartments. All residents were able to vacate the building without any reported injuries. At least one person was checked for smoke inhalation after the fire was extinguished. One resident was evaluated and released on scene for smoke inhalation and there were no firefighter injuries.
Given the substantive size of the fire, a MABAS Division Box Alarm was activated several additional Fire Department jurisdictions (outside of Arlington Heights) responded to assist with battling the blaze. Personnel quickly attacked the flames and brought the structure fire under control. Mutual aid and security of the scene was provided by neighboring Police Departments, and additional assistance was provided by neighboring Fire Departments who supported routine calls for service in the community during the working fire.
While on scene, the Arlington Heights Police Department also arrested a person of interest surrounding the fire. The 80-year-old male resident, who formerly resided inside the apartment where the fire originated, was taken into custody after making statements about the fire to police personnel.
An investigation into the cause and origin of the fire is being conducted by Fire Department investigators, Police Department forensic technicians, in conjunction with the State Fire Marshal’s Office. This case remains under investigation.
While most residents were allowed to return to their homes, approximately 1/3rd of the apartment building (wing where the fire originated) remained uninhabitable. The Red Cross was contacted and has provided additional support services during the event, as well as to those who were displaced. Thirty-two families were displaced.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation with assistance from the State Fire Marshal’s office and the Arlington Heights Police Department. Approximately 75 firefighters from 10 surrounding departments responded to the incident.
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