Man who neighbors believe started fatal South Chicago fire called a 'bully'

- A man who neighbors think started the fatal apartment fire in South Chicago Tuesday morning is being called a “bully.”

Neighbors also say the trouble started when the “bully” accused a woman of owing him money.

“We got into it about ten dollars; he says I owed him ten dollars. I told him I didn't owe him anything,” said building resident LaToya Terry.

Terry says about 1 a.m. Tuesday morning, she turned away a neighborhood cigarette dealer who claimed she owed him money.

“I closed and locked the door in his face. He began to kick and punch my door, I ignored the kicking and punching, right then and there is when I should have called the police, But I did not, because I did not know that it was going to escalate to this. Because I did not know that he had foul intentions about setting the complex on fire, starting with my apartment,” Terry said.

The man she believes set the building on fire is the so-called “person of interest” who Chicago Police have been questioning as they investigate the deadly blaze. FOX 32 is not naming him because he has not been charged.

Terry isn't the only neighborhood resident who suspects this man started the fire.

“He had set my mother's car on fire,” another woman said.

The woman lives in the same building as the possible suspect, not far from the scene of Tuesday morning's fire. She says last year that he set fire to her mother's car after he got into a dispute with the family. The man was never arrested by police.

“They said they couldn't do anything because we didn't actually see it. But we gave them the beer can, he had the gasoline sitting by the car, gave them the gas can he took out of the basement in here,” the woman said.

FOX 32 was unable to reach the man for a response. However, a family member told the Tribune that he did have a dispute over money last night, but that the man had nothing do with starting the fire.

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