Man Charged in Firecracker Incident

A baby remains hospitalized after the fire, which displaced 50 residents

Tuesday, Mar 1, 2011  |  Updated 10:37 PM CDT
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Johnell Walker, 28, is charged Tuesday with three felony counts of aggravated arson causing bodily harm. Authorities say he set off a firecracker during a domestic dispute and burned a 6-month-old girl

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A fire allegedly sparked by a firecracker displaced about 50 residents Monday night and left a 6-month-old baby girl hospitalized in serious to critical condition. 

Police say Johnell Walker, 28, threw a large firecracker into a second floor apartment in the 700 block of North Central Avenue after an argument with the mother of the baby. Police were called at 9 p.m.

Walker reportedly ran from the apartment building and was later taken into custody by police.

People in the building said they heard a loud boom and then saw smoke. One man said his door was blown open and others thought the sound was from a bomb.

Firefighters helped many residents out of the building and into a warming bus, while some residents jumped out of the building to escape the smoke. The baby was taken to a west suburban hospital.

The Red Cross provided food and shelter for those displaced overnight.

Walker, who lives in the apartment, was charged with three felony counts of aggravated arson causing bodily harm, police said.

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