Man charged with setting 3-alarm high-rise fire in Loop

Daniel Nieves (inset) is accused of setting his grandfather’s business on fire inside the Jewelers Center, 5 South Wabash. | CPD; Jewelers Center

A man intentionally set fire to his grandfather’s jewelry store in a Loop high-rise early Thursday, prompting a three-alarm CFD response that left two firefighters injured, prosecutors said.

Daniel Nieves, 23, signed in at the front desk of the Jewelers Center, 5 North Wabash, using a fake name and then took the elevator to his grandfather’s 10th-floor jewelry business, according to prosecutors. Store surveillance cameras recorded Nieves lighting the store on fire and then taking watches, rings, and bracelets from a safe before he returned to the elevator and fled, the state said during a bond hearing Saturday.

Two firemen suffered smoke inhalation, and one of them remains hospitalized and intubated, according to prosecutors.

Nieves’ grandfather allegedly identified him in a surveillance photo from the fire scene. Investigators said Nieves admitted to setting the fire and taking jewelry from the store.

Prosecutors charged Nieves with aggravated arson.

Defense attorney Michael Cheronis said Nieves recently changed medication for a mental health condition. Cheronis also pointed out that Nieves is not charged with theft for taking the store’s merchandise. Family members told Judge John Lyke that they have arranged for Nieves to receive inpatient treatment.

The family’s efforts during the bond hearing appeared to sway Lyke, who set bail at $50,000. Nieves will be released after a $5,000 deposit bond is posted.

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CWBChicago was created in 2013 by five residents of Wrigleyville and Boystown who had grown disheartened with inaccurate information that was being provided at local Community Policing (CAPS) meetings. Our coverage area has expanded since then to cover Lincoln Park, River North, The Loop, Uptown, and other North Side Areas. But our mission remains unchanged: To provide original public safety reporting with better context and greater detail than mainstream media outlets. Our editorial email address is news@cwbchicago.com