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Police: Man tried to set fire to home with children inside

Shaw Media file photo
Shaw Media file photo

HARVARD – A 38-year-old Harvard man accused of trying to burn down his home while two children were upstairs made his first court appearance Friday morning.

On Dec. 8, Joshua Widmayer, of the 5700 block of Island Road, brought “burning embers” into his home and spread them on a kitchen counter and chair in an attempt to burn down the house, according to a complaint filed in McHenry County.

At the time, Widmayer knew two children were upstairs in bedrooms, the complaint stated.

Widmayer is charged with residential arson, arson and child endangerment. The most serious charge, residential arson, typically is punishable by three to seven years in prison.

He was arrested Dec. 15 and was released after posting $5,000 bail the next day.

Representatives from the McHenry County Sheriff’s and State’s Attorney’s offices could not be reached for comment Friday.

The Harvard Fire Department was called to the home for a possible structure fire, but by the time they arrived, a woman at the home already had sprayed the fire with a hose from the kitchen sink, Harvard Fire Deputy Chief Don Davidson said.

Widmayer and his attorney, Ed Donahue, were not available to comment Friday.

Widmayer is due back in court Jan. 12.

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