Man Charged in Christmas Tree Fire

Suspect charged with aggravated arson in fire that injured his son

By Sandra Torres
|  Monday, Jan 3, 2011  |  Updated 8:48 AM CDT
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Chicago Police

35-year-old Robert Villanueva is charged with two counts of aggravated arson.

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A 35-year-old man faces arson charges for allegedly setting a Christmas tree on fire and injuring his 1-year-old son.

Robert Villanueva was apparently intoxicated when he lit the tree on fire at his ex-girlfriends home located at 4817 S. Kolin Ave. on Dec. 26, Chicago police said.

Police reports indicate there was an argument between Villanueva and his ex-girlfriend in the attic apartment, where she lives with her children.

After another resident threatened to call the police, Villanueva reportedly said "you guys called the police so now I'm going to give you a reason to call the police. I'm going to burn this house down with me and my son in it," according to the report.

When firefighters responded to the scene, they could not access the room that Villanueva was in because he had barricaded the door with his son inside, the report said.

A few minutes later firefighters were able to rescue the boy, who suffered minor burns and slight smoke inhalation, according to fire officials.

Video captured that night shows Villanueva running away from the scene in boxer shorts, but police arrested him Saturday at 4500 Prairie Ave. in Brookfield.

Villanueva is charged with two counts of aggravated arson, according to police.

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