Rogers Park man found insane for role in fatal fire

Site of fatal fire
Site of fatal fire

A Rogers Park man has been found not guilty by reason on insanity for setting an apartment fire that killed one person and injured five others, NBC-5 Chicago reports.


The fire occurred Jan. 14, 2010, just north of Loyola University Chicago’s Lake Shore Campus in Rogers Park.

Here is the story from NBC-5:

A Somalian immigrant who set fire to his neighbors’ Rogers  Park apartment — killing one person and injuring five others — was found not  guilty by reason of insanity on Thursday.

Mahad Ali Hassan, 29, had been charged with first-degree  murder, aggravated arson and unlawful use of a weapon for setting a Jan. 14, 2010, fire to an apartment in the 6700  block of North Sheridan Road, authorities said.

On Thursday, Judge Charles Burns found Hassan not guilty by  reason of insanity following a bench trial, Cook County State’s Attorney’s  office spokesman Andy Conklin said. He will be sent for a mental health  evaluation in Elgin and be back in court Jan. 31, when results will be presented  and a course of action determined.

Hassan, who lived on the fourth floor, allegedly poured  gasoline in the hallway and ignited a blaze outside the fifth-floor apartment of  two women with whom he had an ongoing feud, prosecutors said.

Arson investigators also found evidence that gasoline was  used to ignite a second fire on the fifth floor outside the apartment of a man  who died of smoke and soot inhalation, prosecutors said.

The victim was Noor Surani, 49, according to the Cook County  Medical Examiner’s office. He was identified through dental records.

Five other people were injured in the blaze, including one  man who jumped from the top floor during the blaze. Of the five injured — including two firefighters — only the jumper suffered serious injuries, accordig  to Fire Media Affairs.

The blaze engulfed that fifth-floor hallway, entered one unit  and burned a small area on the fourth floor. A witness spotted Hassan exiting  the building stairwell minutes before smoke alarms went off. Investigators later  found a red gas can with his fingerprints on it in the stairwell, prosecutors  said.

Two weeks before the blaze, the women who had feuded with  Hassan had their mailboxes robbed and someone wrote “f— you” on their  apartment door in red spray paint, prosecutors said.

A search of Hassan’s apartment turned up receipts for the  spray paint and mail addressed to the women, prosecutors said.

Hassan was found on the North Side on Jan. 15, and when  police arrested him, he allegedly made an abrupt move with his left hand  reaching for the small of his back, where police found a loaded 9mm  semi-automatic pistol, prosecutors said.

He has been held in the Cook County Jail without bond.


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