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2 squatters charged after setting S. Side apartment building on fire: police

Danielle Gardner  |  Chicago Police photo

Danielle Gardner | Chicago Police photo

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Updated: September 27, 2013 6:26AM

After Danielle Gardner and her boyfriend got the boot from a South Shore apartment where they’d been living as squatters, they returned and set the place on fire Friday evening, authorities said.

Gardner, 21, and Dwayne Kohler, 27, allegedly shoved a city Dumpster up against the back porch, poured lighter fluid inside the container and set the contents on fire. On Sunday, Cook County Judge James Brown ordered Gardner — charged with residential arson — held on $150,000 bail. Kohler was expected to appear in court Monday.

The fire started around 6:40 p.m. Friday in a two-story apartment building in the 8000 block of South Marquette and was elevated to a two-alarm blaze when the roof collapsed, according to the Chicago Fire Department.

A mayday response indicating firefighters are in distress was called after the roof collapsed, but all firefighters were located unharmed, the fire department said.

There were no injuries, but five adults and five children who lived in the building were displaced, according to the fire department.

The couple set fire to the building after they were kicked out of the building, which is in foreclosure proceedings, prosecutors said during a bond hearing on Sunday. Kohler suffered facial injuries as family members attempted to detain him for police, Chicago police said.

He was initially taken to South Shore Hospital, and then transferred to John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital of Cook County.

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