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Alleged arsonist botches the job

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Joseph Ziegler, 22, of Elmhurst, has been charged with felony counts of arson, residential arson and aggravated arson following a blaze Thursday that destroyed two vehicles and left a house uninhabitable.

JOHNSBURG – An Elmhurst resident set fire to a house, but the wrong house, in retaliation during an argument, according to the McHenry County Sheriff’s Office.

Joseph Ziegler, 22, is charged with felony counts of arson, residential arson and aggravated arson in a blaze Thursday that destroyed two vehicles and left a Pistakee Highlands house uninhabitable.

Firefighters from the McHenry Township Fire Protection District were called to the 5100 block of Westwood Drive about 4:45 a.m.

They found the vehicles engulfed in flames on the driveway, and the fire extended to the garage of the home, Deputy Fire Chief Rudy Horist said.

Witnesses later placed Ziegler at the scene, Undersheriff Andrew Zinke said. It also was determined that before the fire, Ziegler was involved in an argument with another person.

“The residence was not the intended target,” Zinke said. “He got the wrong house, but thankfully no one was hurt.”

The homeowner was inside the residence when the fire started and escaped without harm. The homeowners could not be reached for comment Friday.

Ziegler is being held at the McHenry County Jail on an $80,000 bond. The most serious charge is a Class X felony, which carries a term of up to 30 years upon conviction.

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