last December was initially thought to be the cause of a gas leak.
Yet an investigation revealed that the blast was in fact arson and not a gas leak.
Now, the Skokie Police Department has charged Stefan Kogut, 53, of the 100 block of West Ridge Ave., with two counts of arson on Monday. It is alleged that Kogut intentionally set off the explosion that left the apartment building at 8734 Kimball Ave. faceless.
Kogut was the only person injured after the blast and was found near the building's rubble. He would later be transported to St. Francis Hospital in Evanston. A witness that Kogut's “head was open in the back. He was pretty bloody and struggling to get up.”
It was also later revealed that a "single burnt match" was found in close proximity to Kogut.
The unit was purchased by a young couple in a short sale for $270,000, according to a real estate agent familiar with the deal. The explosion happened shortly after the couple acquired the home, she said.
Several fire departments assisted in putting out the fire, including those from Wilmette, Evanston and Morton Grove. Initially, fire officials said they had a difficult time conducting their investigation because the interior of the building was completely destroyed ().
While officials said several family members were helping with the renovation of the home, it is unclear if they were involved with the explosion. At this time, no further information is available. Check Skokie Patch tomorrow for a mugshot of Kogut and more details.