Brookfield police are enlisting the public’s help in order to identify two people seen leaving the long vacant Brookfield Bowl, 3415 Maple Ave., during the early morning hours of Sept. 22, shortly before a pedestrian noticed the vacant building was on fire.
Images of the two were captured by video surveillance cameras in the area. One of the two appears to be wearing a baseball cap with a sticker on the top of the bill. In a still image showing the two from the front, the man wearing the cap appears to have his shirt collar pulled up to his nose as if concealing his face.
Both men appear to either have bushy dark hair or are wearing dark, bushy wigs.
According to the police report of the incident, a witness told police he was walking to First National Bank of Brookfield at about 4:15 a.m. to withdraw some cash to give to his spouse, who was about to leave in a cab for a business trip.
As he crossed Maple Avenue from the west, the witness reported seeing two people exit the bowling alley’s north door “in a hurry” and walk “briskly” eastbound towards the parking lot of Tischler Finer Foods.
The witness continued southbound on Maple Avenue in front of the bowling alley. As he passed the glass main entry doors, he looked through and observed an orange glow coming from inside the building. He immediately dialed 911 and firefighters were able to strike the fire before it could spread very far. The fire station is located just a block away on Broadway Avenue.
If the witness hadn’t happened along at that moment, said Police Chief James Episcopo, the fire could have spread quickly. The fire was contained to the rear area of the building and did not compromise it structurally, he said.
“We got the call really quick, otherwise the place would have gone up,” Episcopo said. “They got it contained before it was fully engulfed.”
Episcopo confirmed evidence of accelerants inside the bowling alley, though he declined to comment on what they were. The evidence was turned over to the Illinois State Police Crime Lab.