LOWELL | The Lake County prosecutor's office charged a man Friday with destroying a vacant house he burglarized in the spring.
Dylan W. Cohs, 19, of West Creek Township, is named in two felony counts of burglary and criminal mischief.
Lake County police allege Cohs broke into a house in the 4700 block of West 153rd Avenue the morning of April 4 to steal copper wire from its electrical system.
Police allege he started a fire in the basement of the house to burn insulation off the wire to get more money for it from a scrap yard. Police said the fire ignited liquid propane gas leaking into the basement from a gas line that had been cut.
The propane gas exploded, spreading the fire to the house's walls which collapsed along with the roof and first floor into the basement.
Witnesses said they saw a man running from the house, get in a blue sports utility vehicle and drive off at the time of the fire.
Police said they received a report that afternoon of Cohs being admitted to St. Anthony Medical Center in Crown Point with severe burns to his head, chest and arms. Cohs family members said the defendant reported being burned while inside the burglarized house.