Suburban Chicago Man Sentenced for Burning Down Warehouse

Aug 30, 2018


Credit Creative Commons

CHICAGO - A federal judge has sentenced a suburban Chicago man to six years behind bars for a 2016 fire that destroyed a furniture warehouse where he worked, causing more than $122 million in damages. 

The Chicago Tribune reports that 22-year-old Ruben Antonio Ochoa Cruz was angry at his boss after a dispute over vacation time when he set a piece of paper on fire and tossed it into shelfing at the RoomPlace warehouse. The fire spread, eventually burning down the 325,000-square-foot structure in Woodridge.

Cruz apologized through a Spanish interpreter before the judge imposed the sentence Tuesday. The Joliet resident said the fire "was not a mistake" he "intended to make." 

Prosecutors said the fire risked the lives of more than 65 people and that it was miraculous everyone survived.