POLICE: 55-year-old Andover, Minn., man set on fire by landlord - FOX13 News, WHBQ FOX 13

POLICE: 55-year-old Andover, Minn., man set on fire by landlord

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Police took a 29-year-old man into custody after neighbors in Andover, Minn., reported seeing smoke reported seeing smoke coming from the home he owns and first responders found his 55-year-old roommate had been set on fire.

Investigators with the Anoka County Sheriff's Office were called to a home on the 1300 block of 137th Lane NW at about 9:40 p.m. on Tuesday and found the victim covered in burns. He was taken to the burn unit at the Hennepin County Medical Center and is currently in critical condition with burns to 80 percent of his body. His identity has not been released because police are still trying to notify his family; however, neighbors told Fox 9 News the victim is homeless. Police confirmed trying to locate his family has been challenging.

Earlier Tuesday evening, police responded to a landlord and tenant dispute at the home. At the time, both men had agreed to separate for the evening. Ten hours later, officers would be back at the scene. Neighbors told Fox 9 News the 55-year-old victim had only been there for about a month and had been known to stay with 29-year-old Adam Lilienthal periodically.

"I knew he was angry, and I knew he was capable of a lot of terrible things -- but God, I never thought he would set someone on fire," Jan Rachel said.

As she looks across the street from her own home, Rachel admits she is still in disbelief that first responders called to a possible house fire would find the 55-year-old conscious and still burning just inside the front door. Officials confirmed that when rescuers entered the home, they distinctly smelled some sort of gas or fire accelerant.

"When he was taken to HCMC, he was put into a medically-induced coma," Cmdr. Paul Sommer said. "I would imagine that kind of pain is pretty unbearable."

The man had allegedly been doused in gasoline and purposely set on fire by Lilienthal, his roommate and landlord. According to police, Lilienthal quickly fled after the incident; however, neighbors told investigators that Lilienthal's family owned property up north. Hours later, he was arrested and booked into the St. Louis County Jail after Anoka County issued a statewide law enforcement alert that Lilienthal had access to a cabin. Lilienthal reportedly had minor burns on his face when he was taken into custody.

 Neighbors confirmed that police had been called to the home numerous times before, and they explained that Lilienthal frequently takes people in as a way to make money since he inherited the home from his late parents.

"We like him there because he's been keeping up the property," Rachel said. "Otherwise, the property is not kept up."

Even so, this most recent run-in with police call has neighbors hoping he doesn't get out of jail any time soon.

 "I think this is the beginning of the end for him -- I hope," Rachel admitted. "I hope they put him away for a long time. We don't want him here, I'll tell you that much."

Lilienthal has a criminal history that includes drug charges, burglary charges and an assault conviction against his father. Anoka County prosecutors plan to file formal charges on Thursday morning.

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