Police Report Reveals New Details in Home Arson Case

Accused arsonist who doused his own house with gasoline expressed surprise when it blew up, police say.

What's left of the house at 8904 S. 55th Court. The home was declared a total loss after an early morning fire and explosion on Jan. 11.
What's left of the house at 8904 S. 55th Court. The home was declared a total loss after an early morning fire and explosion on Jan. 11.

When Oak Lawn Police answered the call of a house explosion at 8904 S. 55th Court last Saturday, they confronted an apologetic Arunas Samoska on the sidewalk.

Recognizing the 48-year-old Samoska from an earlier visit that morning, the Lithuanian immigrant motioned with his head toward the flame-engulfed home and told the officer, “I did that,” a police report said.

Charged with two counts of aggravated arson and one count of residential arson, Samoska faces 60 years in prison if convicted of all three felonies.

The morning started with a visit to Samoska’s residence for an “unwanted subject” call around 2:04 a.m. Samoska’s 20-year-old stepson told police that his stepfather invited a friend and co-worker over to spend the night, and that both men had been drinking heavily throughout the evening, the report said.

When the friend began instructing Samoska how to be good father and family man, his stepfather got angry and the two began to fight, police said.

The stepson claimed that Samoska initiated the altercation.

Police spoke with the friend, who they described as “visibly intoxicated.” According to the report, the friend continually refused to answer officers’ questions about the alleged fight, and repeatedly said that “nothing happened.”

He did not wish to press charges against Samoska.

Officers spoke to Samoska, who they said also appeared intoxicated and was very agitated. Samoska’s face showed fresh reddening and swelling around his eye and mouth. He, too, did not wish to press charges and refused medical attention, the report said.

Samoska’s wife agreed to take the three younger children and older son to stay at a relative’s house. Police said as she began waking the children and packing some belongings, she and Samoska continued yelling at other in Lithuanian.

The wife soon left the house with her older son and the children. The friend asked officers for a ride, who drove him to Bridgeview, while Samoska remained behind at the house, police said.

A few hours later, police were back at the house on 55th Court, only this time it was fully engulfed in flames. The whole north brick wall, approximately 40 feet long, was blown out and bricks were thrown all over the driveway from the apparent explosion.

Flames were reaching across the driveway and nearly touched the roof and fence of the house on the north. Immediately to the south, the roof and wall of the house next door was steaming intensely.

When officers heard windows breaking and saw open electrical circuits arcing, they began knocking on the doors, rousing the residents of both houses out of bed and evacuating them to safety.

After speaking to residents in the 8800 block of 55th Court, a man whom the officer recognized earlier as Samoska, approached him on the sidewalk, the report said.

Before the officer could speak, Samoska spontaneously admitted to blowing up his own house, police claimed. As the officer walked Samoska toward the street, Samoska allegedly told police, “I did it and then I left. I called some friends and told them I’m sorry I do so many stupid things.”

He was immediately handcuffed by police. As the officer escorted him to a patrol car, Samoska continued talking, allegedly telling police he had called some friends and left them messages.

Police said that Samoska told the officer he put his wife’s wedding picture in the garage and “wrote a message on it and put a message Facebook.”

A message believed to be written in Lithuanian,  “Nepykkit jeigu kas ne taip,” was posted via mobile phone on Samoska's Facebook page at 5:18 a.m. Jan. 11, about four minutes after Oak Lawn firefighters arrived at the blazing home.

Police said that an Internet translation of the message showed the words to read, “I apologize if I did something wrong.”

While sitting in the patrol car, Samoska continued making statements, the report said, telling another officer, “I put gas on everything.” 

Police said that an odor of gasoline was detectable on Samoska.

Asked if he lit the gasoline with a lighter, Samoska said the "gas went into the air," and believed the pressure "blew the wall out," the report said. 

“I was surprised,” he allegedly told police.

Stating there was no open flame that he knew of, Samoska reportedly told police how he had planned to leave and was walking to the driveway, “but then boom, the whole brick wall blew out and I couldn’t drive away.”

As he was being escorted to another patrol car to be taken to the police station, police said he told the officer how his grandmother always said he’d die in prison.

“This looks bad," Samoska reportedly said as he was being taken away. "This looks like terrorism.” 

Rugile Ramoskaite January 16, 2014 at 12:11 AM
....just an FYI, his Facebook post is apologetic, BUT says nothing about blowing up his house explicitly. This is not to say he is not guilty, but simply to clarify. It's not that hard to translate, people.


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