Brush Fire In Buffalo Grove Caused By Illegal Fireworks

Updated 07/09/12 – 1:53 p.m.

BUFFALO GROVE, Ill. (CBS) — A Brush fire in Buffalo grove took out power to about 2,400 on Sunday, and police say it was caused by a 20-year-old man who allegedly was lighting off illegal fireworks.

CBS 2’s Courtney Gousman reports Buffalo Grove firefighters responded to a brush fire in a large field behind a row of homes near 441 Cedar Ct. around 1 p.m. Sunday.

The fire grew so large that Buffalo Grove firefighters called in help from 25 other neighboring departments to get things under control.

Firefighters said they learned about the fire just after 1 p.m. The extremely dry conditions, combined with 20 mph winds, caused the fire to spread quickly. Fire Chief Terry Vavra says the blaze demonstrates why several communities canceled fireworks this July 4th.

“This is the exact reason why they are such a problem,” he said.

An off-duty police officer observed four people run off after lighting illegal fireworks, police said. Authorities charged Gabriel R. Horwich, 20, of Buffalo Grove, with criminal damage to property by reckless means of fire.

Several nearby residents found themselves in the line of fire and had to be evacuated from their homes.

Vavra said about two dozen homes were threatened by the fire, but it was contained by 2:45 p.m.

Several power transmission towers are located in the field where the fire was burning. A ComEd spokesperson said the fire knocked out power to 2,400 nearby customers, but service was restored to 2,000 of those customers by 5 p.m. Crews restored the balance by evening.

“We had two rows of power lines that were affected (and) caused power outage from, basically, Buffalo Grove to Barrington; so it was a pretty wide area,” Vavra said.

Bond for Horwich was set at $10,000 in Lake County Court in Waukegan Monday. He is due back in court for a preliminary hearing on Aug. 8.

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