CHAMPAIGN, Ill. (WCIA) — Emotions are high as a family feels they are no longer safe in their home after a man tried setting their door on fire.
Champaign firefighters and police officers responded to the Town Center Apartments near Costco early Saturday morning following the incident, which was caught on camera. The suspect is seen pouring lighter fluid on the Teague family’s door and trying to set it on fire.
The suspect is known to the Teagues; Ms. Teague said it is her daughter’s ex-boyfriend. She said he has a two-year restraining order and is now hoping someone will turn him in.
“I could have lost my children,” Teague said. “I could have lost everything that I own, and 11 other people could have lost everything that they own.”
Teague said that around 4:30 a.m. on Saturday, she got a call from her daughter that there was a fire and she needed to get home.
“I found out that my children were left in the apartment,” Teague said. “All the other tenants were able to evacuate the building, but my children could not evacuate.”
She said that not only were her children sleeping, but they had nowhere to go because the fire was where their only escape would have been.
“If it wasn’t for the Ring camera, I wouldn’t have known who did it,” Teague said.
Teague said this is not the first time she has had a problem with the man caught on camera. She has a restraining order against him because he once removed her door knob in the middle of the night.
“I just ask that if you see him, turn him in, because I don’t want another mother, no one’s daughter, no one to have to go through this again,” Teague said. “It’s not fair, it’s selfish.”
She’s thankful that the bulk of the damage was to her welcome mat and the bottom of her door.
“We were blessed and God was protecting my household, and I thank Him for that,” Teague said.
She said her family is not staying at the apartment because they don’t feel safe and they are looking for another place to live.
Police are looking for the suspect – 23-year-old Caleb Barnell – for questioning. Anyone who knows where he is is asked to call the Champaign Police Department at 217-351-4545.