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Man Arrested, Charged For Starting Fatal North Side Fire

By Anna Deem in News on Jan 17, 2010 7:30PM

Photo by: slow911
Mahab Hassan, 26, of the 6700 block of N. Sheridan Rd., has been charged with starting an apartment fire in the Far North Side Rogers Park neighborhood on January 14 that killed one man and injured five other people. Hassan was charged with aggravated arson, aggravated unlawful use of a weapon, and first degree murder, according to police News Affairs Officer John Mirabelli. Hassan was found on the North Side on January 15 with a loaded handgun. He was taken into custody and formally charged on Saturday at 11:30 p.m., Mirabelli said to the Chicago Sun-Times.

The fire, which occurred at a five-story apartment building at 6720 N. Sheridan Rd., started around 12:10 p.m. on January 14 and was extinguished by 12:55 p.m. It claimed the life of Noor Surani, 49, who was found badly burned in a fifth-floor hallway, where the fire began, according to the medical examiner's office. Five other people were injured, including a man who jumped from the fifth floor to escape the fire.

Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford said on January 15 that investigators "found evidence and witness accounts that indicated the fire was suspicious." Detectives from the police's Bomb & Arson Section took over the investigation and found two points of origin for the cause of the fire, as well as a recovered one gallon can of gasoline in the hallway. The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago opened a shelter at 1125 W. Loyola Ave. on Loyola University's campus for more than 25 residents displaced by the fire., according to a release.