A woman left her house to take out the garbage just after 4 p.m. Sunday and saw neighbor Timothy E. Levis, 52, of the 600 block of Wellington Avenue, pouring gasoline all over his back deck, a police report said. When he ignited the gas, she ran inside to call 911, it said.
Levis appeared in bond court this week on felony charges of possession of an explosive and a misdemeanor charge of reckless conduct just days after the code enforcement department had red-tagged the property for unsanitary conditions, police and code enforcement officials said.
Elgin Fire Battalion Chief Terry Bruce said firefighters found a small fire on the porch Sunday that was limited to about 10 square feet and a couple steps. No one was home when officials arrived.
Bruce said the fire easily could have spread up the siding and into the house if there were any doors or windows open, given time.
"It would have caused quite a bit more damage," Bruce said.
The damage was minimal, thanks to the neighbor's good timing.
When Elgin police arrived at the house, which had been red-tagged July 27, they saw a red gasoline can on the ground by the stairs, a whiskey bottle with a burned cloth stuffed into the top, a melted plastic bottle of nail polish remover and a burned aerosol can, according to reports. The items appeared to be a failed Molotov cocktail, reports said.
Bail was set at $150,000 Tuesday, of which Levis must pay 10 percent to be released before his next court date, scheduled for Aug. 10 in St. Charles. If convicted of the most serious charge, Levis could spend up to 15 years in prison.