Insurer taking foster parents to court over arson case
By Janet Lundquist email@example.com September 14, 2013 10:06PM
Lisa Morris is seen outside a neighbor's residence as workers repair damage from a garage fire Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012, in Plainfield. A 12-year-old boy is allegedly responsible for setting five cars (and by extention, 2 houses) on fire on the block. | Matthew Grotto~Sun-Times Media
Updated: October 16, 2013 6:48AM
The insurance company for a Plainfield couple who lost two vehicles in an arson fire in their garage is suing the foster parents of the boy accused of setting the fire on Christmas Day 2011.
American Family Mutual Insurance filed suit Sept. 11 in Will County Circuit Court, seeking to recoup the $56,406 it paid to Lisa and Joseph Morris for damages caused by the fire. Besides the foster parents, the suit names as defendants two employees of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services.
The fire set in the Morrises’ garage destroyed two vehicles as well as the garage and a portion of their house in the 16000 block of Hazelwood Drive.
Plainfield police estimated that the then-12 year-old caused $200,000 in damage between Dec. 25, 2011, and Jan. 7, 2012, by setting five vehicles on fire in the neighborhood.
The lawsuit accuses DCFS staff of placing the boy in a foster home where he often was left unsupervised and within reach of “dangerous instrumentalities.”
Police caught the boy after an undercover officer saw him burglarizing an unlocked car in that area. He admitted setting all the fires, police said.
They he started fires early in the morning New Year’s Day and on Jan. 7 when a townhouse was gutted. The boy targeted unlocked cars at random, using paper and cloth he found inside to start the fires.
The boy reportedly had been in foster care at a residence on the block for less than a year. His foster parents declined to come to the police station when the boy spoke with investigators, police said.