Investigators Probe Cause Of Fire At Controversial Englewood Building That Houses 60 Registered Sex Offenders

CHICAGO (CBS) — Investigators on Tuesday night were searching for the cause of a fire at a controversial apartment building in Englewood.

Flames tore through the roof of the top-floor apartment of the building on Perry Avenue near Marquette Road.

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The building was evacuated and no one was hurt.

CBS 2 Political Investigator Dana Kozlov exposed last month that the building is home to 60 registered sex offenders.

That is about 40 more sex offenders living in the building than originally thought when CBS 2’s Jermont Terry first investigated in March. They include men like Cayce Williams – who assaulted and murdered a toddler in the 1990s, and who isn’t from Chicago.

Englewood activist Andrea Drane said last month that it is unacceptable.

“We feel as if the Illinois Department of Corrections and the City of Chicago utilize our community as a dumping ground,” Drane said.

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Former resident Jasmine Tinsley said the landlord didn’t even tell her about the former offenders until she moved in – while pregnant with her 6-year-old.

“Why are there so many sex offenders and pedophiles registered to this address?” Tinsley said in April.

Civil rights attorney Adele Nicholas in April said the men who live in the building have very few living options.

“Right now, there’s a crisis that’s been created by Illinois law, which puts almost all of the housing in the entire state off limits,” Nicholas said.

Is it legal for so many former offenders to live in one building? Illinois statute states people convicted of a sex offense who are on parole and probation should “refrain from residing at the same address or in the same condominium unit… with another person… he or she knows… is a convicted sex offender.”

The only exception is if it is transitional housing, which this building is not.

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In her report last month, Kozlov spoke to the landlord, Amer Mostafa, who said the men have a right to live and rent in the building or wherever they are able. He also said no nonprofit is running an operation out of the building – but that doesn’t alleviate the concerns held by many living in the neighborhood.

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