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Man gets 12 years for setting fire outside sister’s Willowbrook apartment

A southwest suburban man—who became angry about being thrown out of his sister’s home, then slashed her tires and tried to set a fire at her apartment—has been sentenced to 12 years in prison.

“Galvin Harris’ anger at his sister and decision to start a fire in front of her door endangered the lives of numerous residents and firefighters,” Dupage County State’s Attorney Robert Berlin said in a statement. “Arson is a menacing offense with the potential to cause tremendous loss of life and destruction of property. Thankfully, no one was injured in the fire.”

Judge George Bakalis sentenced the 33-year-old Broadview resident to 12 years after he was found guilty by a jury of aggravated arson and disorderly conduct on Aug. 13, a statement from prosecutors said.

About 3 a.m. on Dec. 21, 2014, the Tri-State Fire Department responded to a call of smoke on the second floor of the Hinsdale Lakes Terrace Apartments in unincorporated Willowbrook. “They found a cardboard box filled with mailing flyers smoldering in front of Harris’ sister’s second-floor apartment,” prosecutors said.

The fire had already been extinguished by residents but not before there was smoke damage to the hallway and burn damage to the carpet, prosecutors said.

Investigators learned that Harris had argued with his sister the same day and “had been asked to leave the apartment by police,” prosecutors said. He returned later, and slashed the tires on her car before starting the fire “directly in front of her apartment door.”

He was sentenced to 12 years for the arson and 4 years for disorderly conduct, with the sentences to be served concurrently. By law he must serve at least 50 percent of the sentence before becoming eligible for parole.