Reporting Kris Habermehl
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UPDATED 08/08/12 11:5733 a.m.
CHICAGO (CBS) — A fire spread to six garages in the Andersonville neighborhood in a period of 15 minutes overnight.
As CBS 2’s Susanna Song reports, between 11:45 p.m. and midnight Tuesday night, the garages in the alley behind 1600 block of West Berwyn and Farragut avenues – between Paulina Street and Ashland Avenue – were set on fire.
LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Bernie Tafoya reports
One of the garages was leveled by the fire, with only a pile of charred embers remaining afterward. The car inside was also destroyed.
Police Bomb and Arson investigators initially arrived at the scene because the fire appeared to be suspicious, but late Wednesday morning, police said the fire no longer appeared to be criminal.
It started with one garage, and before neighbors knew it, flames had spread to another garage, and another.
“My wife woke me up about 10 to 12. It sounds like Rice Krispies – snap, crackle, pop. I looked out the window and saw the fire, which was up about as high as those trees,” said homeowner Mike Dies.
“I thought somebody was having a big, giant weenie roast or something,” added homeowner Ty Hanson.
But it was Hanson’s vintage car that was a roasting.
“Engulfed – by the time we got up and got dressed, it was gone,” Hanson said. “It was done. It was toast.”
Inside Hanson’s garage were golf clubs, his wife’s sport-utility vehicle and a lawn mower. But the biggest loss was the Corvette.
“It’s my baby,” he said.
And the loss is hard to accept.
“It’s taken us like 15 years to restore it ourselves,” Hanson said.
The fire damaged six garages. It started in the garage next to the Hansons, where the remains are so severely mangled and burned that there is no way to figure out what was inside.
A car was in the pile somewhere.
“Her garage door was open, earlier in the evening,” Dies said. “I don’t know, it could have been kids. It could have been electrical. It could have been anything.”
Dies is lucky the fire didn’t get past his garage door.
“There’s a car, there’s snow blowers, there’s, you know, just normal garage stuff,” he said. “But we’re lucky that it didn’t get in.
And thankfully, the blaze didn’t set any homes on fire or cause any injuries.
“Things can be replaced, Hanson said. “People can’t.”