Drunken Ex-Boyfriend Sets Christmas Tree Afire: Cops

The child's grandmother warned her daughter not to let her ex-boyfriend in

By Ivanna Hampton
|  Monday, Dec 27, 2010  |  Updated 9:38 AM CDT
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A grandmother reacts to her daughter's ex-boyfriend setting a Christmas tree on fire.

Ivanna Hampton

A grandmother reacts to her daughter's ex-boyfriend setting a Christmas tree on fire.

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A 1-year-old boy suffered from smoke inhalation Sunday night after his father allegedly set fire to the family's Christmas tree in a rage.

Family members said the father set the tree on fire purposely after an argument with the toddler's mother escalated to the point where police were called. 

"He started saying that he was going to kill her and him and the kids and that he was going to set the baby on fire because we called the police on him,"said Joann Bettendorf, the toddler's grandmother.

Firefighters were called to the home on the 4800 block of South Kolin Avenue around 8:20 p.m. Monday, said Will Knight, Fire Media Affairs spokesperson. They used a children's toy chair to break out windows in the home.

The child was taken to Saint Anthony Hospital. 

The incident started after the ex-boyfriend came home intoxicated after attending a Bears game at Soldier Field Sunday, said Bettendorf.

The mother and her 1-year-old son were upstairs while her three other children were downstairs with their grandmother and the woman's husband, said Bettendorf.

"I told my daughter not to let him in, but she did because she didn't want any problems and look what happened. There is problems," Bettendorf said.

The mother saw smoke in the attic and near some stairs and called the fire department. 

"He would have died. He's got asthma. He would have died with all that smoke.  He's the father of that baby. He knows that baby has asthma. He don't care," said the boy's grandmother.

Police are looking for the child's father, who ran away in shorts and barefooted.

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