An Evanston man is facing aggravated arson and attempted murder charges in connection with a weekend fire at 739 Brummel St.

Police say Philippe Silencieux, 57, of 1331 Pitner Ave., is accused of setting the blaze that gutted a first floor apartment in the three-story building Sunday night.

Neighbors say the building was occupied by several members of an extended family. Reportedly no one was in the first floor apartment when the fire broke out, and all the residents managed to flee the building wthout injury after smelling gas and then smoke.

Firefighters managed to contain the fire and keep it from spreading to adjacent buildings.

Police say they believe Silencieux, a relative of the building’s owner, who is listed in property records as Marlene Silenceiux, was estranged from other members of the family.

Police detectives and arson investigators say interviews and additional information and evidence they uncovered implicated Silencieux in the incident.

Bill Smith is the editor and publisher of Evanston Now.

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