TEENS RESPONSIBLE FOR MAY 21 FIRE THAT TOOK 107 FIREFIGHTERS TO EXTINGUISH
DuPage County State’s Attorney Robert B. Berlin and St. Charles Chief of Police James Keegan announced today that two male juveniles have been charged with starting a three-alarm fire at the former Pheasant Run resort on North Avenue. Two additional male juveniles have each been charged with trespassing at the resort as well. Each of the juveniles appeared at a detention hearing this morning with their parents where Judge Anthony Coco ordered that the two charged with starting the fire, one from Carol Stream and one from Wheaton, be detained, while the other two, one from Carol Stream and one from Winfield, be released to the custody of their parents on home detention.
The detained juveniles have each been charged with one count of Arson (Class 2 Felony), one count of Burglary (Class 2 Felony), one count of Criminal Damage to Property (Class 4 Felony) and three counts of Criminal Trespass to a Building (Class B Misdemeanor). The two boys who were released to their parents’ custody have each been charged with two counts of Criminal Trespass to a Building. The boys’ ages range from fourteen to seventeen years old.
On May 21, 2022, at approximately 4:41 p.m., the St. Charles Police Department and the St. Charles Fire Department responded to the former Pheasant Run resort located at 4051 E. Main Street, for multiple reports of a structure fire. Upon their arrival, authorities found large sections of the resort engulfed in flames. More than one hundred firefighters from more than twenty-five fire departments were called to ultimately extinguish the blaze. The St. Charles Police and Fire Departments, the State Fire Marshall and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives immediately initiated an investigation into the fire. Following the investigation, it is alleged that the four juveniles illegally entered the property at the former resort. It is alleged that once inside, two of the juveniles were involved in setting papers on fire at two separate locations. It is further alleged that the two juveniles left the area where they had set the papers on fire without extinguishing the fire.
Charges were filed against the four juveniles on Monday, July 25, 2022. The following day, the two juveniles facing the more serious charges turned themselves into authorities to await their detention hearing. The remaining two juveniles were notified of the charges against them and appeared in court this morning.
“For days, one hundred and seven firefighters from twenty-six fire departments put their lives in danger to control and ultimately extinguish a massive fire that heavily damaged the former Pheasant Run resort in St. Charles,” Berlin said. “It is alleged that the actions of these juveniles progressed from misdemeanor trespassing and vandalism to much more serious and potentially deadly felony criminal charges. Thankfully, no one sustained serious injury while battling the fire allegedly set in this case. The investigation into what happened at Pheasant Run was extremely thorough and I commend the St. Charles Police and Fire Departments along with the State Fire Marshall and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives for their painstaking and collaborative efforts which allowed us to file today’s charges. I also thank Assistant State’s Attorneys Helen Kapas, Alyssa Rabulinski and Nick Catizone for their outstanding efforts the past two months on this case.”
“These arrests are the direct result of the hard work, determination and collective efforts of members of the St. Charles Police and Fire Departments, agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and The Office of the State Fire Marshall,” Keegan said. “Together, with assistance from DuPage County State's Attorney Bob Berlin’s office, investigators tirelessly pieced together a solid criminal case, thereby holding those criminally responsible to answer for their conduct.”
The next court appearance for the two detained juveniles is scheduled for August 1, 2022, in front of Judge Coco. The next court appearance for the remaining two juveniles is scheduled for August 10, 2022, also in front of Judge Coco.
Members of the public are reminded that this complaint contains only charges and is not proof of the defendants’ guilt. The defendants are presumed innocent and are entitled to a fair trial in which it is the government’s burden to prove their guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.