CHICAGO (CBS) — Police suspect a blaze that put six people out of their homes Tuesday night in the Lakeview neighborhood might have been the latest in a string of arson fires in the area.
The fire started on the back porch of a three-story apartment building in the 1900 block of West Diversey Parkway.
No injuries were reported, but six people will have to find somewhere else to live – at least temporarily – and the building has been boarded up.
“About 6:30, we heard a bang and then all of a sudden a cloud of smoke came from the back of the house and I came out and I started to see the flames going straight up the porch,” said Tony Rivera.
Police said the fire might be among a string of as many as 18 arson fires in the area since Oct. 11. Tuesday’s blaze was the first such fire to damage actual homes, though it started the way most of the fires have, in a garbage container in the rear of the building.
Previous fires damaged only trash cans, dumpsters, and garages in the Lakeview, Rosecoe Village, Hamlin Park, and West DePaul communities.
Ald. Scott Waguespack (32nd) says police have added manpower to deal with the fires, including tactical teams and cops from the arson unit.
They’re following up two main leads: that a homeless adult may be responsible or that one or more kids may be involved.
The fires have Lakeview residents wondering: when will it stop?
“My biggest concern is that it keeps happening and that someone gets hurt,” said Lakeview resident Linda Fargano.
Georgette Truhler lives just doors away from this garage which was torched four days ago. Her sense of safety is now shattered.
“I’m having nightmares and I’m up all hours of the night looking in the alley, going on my rooftop,” Thuler said. “I’m just nervous because I don’t want my house to burn down or anyone else.”