Friday, September 26, 2014

FIRE BUG: More (Yes, More) Fires In Neighborhood Alley Overnight; Dumpster, Trash Bin Lit Near Occupied Homes

Left: Remnants of this morning's fire at 917 Roscoe.
Right: The near dumpster, under the balcony of an occupied home
was set on fire this morning at 863 Buckingham.
Below: Map of recent suspicious fires.
This morning's incidents are in red
Two more suspicious fires broke out in an alley east of Clark street overnight, likely the work of an arsonist who is currently being hunted by Chicago police.

The fires, reported within 10 minutes of each other, were a block apart.

Unsettlingly, both of this morning’s fires appear to have been set next to or under occupied structures.

The first fire call came at 2:17AM after a dumpster was lit behind 863 Buckingham. That fire appears to have been set under the balcony of a second-floor residence.

Ten minutes later, another fire was reported one block north in the same alley. That fire was sparked in a residential garbage can next to condo buildings at 917 Roscoe, behind Houndstooth Saloon.

Arson investigators have already been to the scenes.

Related Stories
• ARSON: Overnight Fires Destroy Cars In Wrigleyville

• VIDEO: Arsonist Sets Blaze In Boystown This Morning; Other Suspicious Fires Nearby...

• FIRED UP: Overnight Arsonist Strikes Boystown...Again

• BOLD: 3 More Suspicious Fires Reported In Wrigleyville, Boystown
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  1. I hope the CPD (or someone else) catches this head case and beats the living daylights out of him. I'm watching my alley closely every night and leaving the door open so I can hopefully hear anything suspicious.

    1. Uh-huh. I see what you just did there.


    2. Hello all -- I am the person who called in the 917 Roscoe fire because it happened right outside my window. I was awake reading email, heard a loud sound like someone kicked a can down the alley REALLY hard, maybe a bigger can like a paint can so it was really loud. I was going to go to my open window and yell out to keep it down because people were sleeping, and as I walked across the room the smell of burn hit me, I knew immediately what it was. I saw the reflection of the fire in the car windows across the alley with the fire below my window I could not see it directly. I picked up the phone at that moment, literally a few seconds in at 2:17 am and called 911 as I ran down the stairs. I was transferred to the fire department and the lady who answered the phone cut me off before I could fully tell her where the fire was and said someone already called and the fire department was on the way. I said thanks, hung up, and then thought, HOW IN THE WORLD did someone call that in before me? WELL! It is because someone else called about the fire around the corner, also described as between Roscoe and Buckinghan, and they "assumed" it was the same fire. If they stopped to actually talk to me KNOWING this guy sets multiple fires at the same time they would have realized it was the second fire I was calling about. CFD - please learn from this and train your dispatchers to listen to people calling instead of being rude and ignorant.

      So I emptied my kitchen extinguisher into the bin to hold it at bay but not enough to put it out, ran back in to get a second, and when I came back out, this amazing hero from Houndstooth was pulling the can which was now fully flaming again away from the house to save our homes from being burned down. He then proceeded to run back and forth between the fire and houndstooth to carry like 5 buckets full of water to help put it out. He then went back to work like nothing happened, we need more people like him around!! Thank you! I called the owner to let him know what his staff member did and that he is my hero.


    3. Now, mind you, at 2:25, when the article says someone called in a second fire 10 minutes later, that was me AGAIN calling the fire department a second time to ask where they were because a bit earlier I saw the engine go by on clark but no one showed up. The nasty and incompetent lady on the phone once again told me they were THERE and I told her they were NOT there because I was standing here in front of the fire. She actually argued with me about the truth instead of catching a clue that maybe she should listen to me and where I was because this was NOT the same fire. Apparently she thinks I could not see the giant red fire engine in front of me - mainly because it was not there. Instead she told me to stop yelling at her and hung up on me. Who at 911 hangs up on people needing help? Was I yelling? Heck Yeah I was yelling because this dimwit was not getting it. So I have filed a complaint and intend to get that idiot fired.

      I over heard the fire department talking about the confusion with the 2 calls and not knowing there was a second one to tend to. Well, thank goodness for quick thinking neighbors who handled it before they got there. If the firemen who were already there around the corner understood there was another fire, which by the way is his MO and they should have expected it, the could have literally walked around the corner to help. Mind you, about 6 cops showed up to inspect and watched this guy carry water back and forth to put out the fire. Um, grab a bucket guys!!! Clearly we needed back up without the firemen there. It was not a threatening fire at this point because of the quick work of the Houndstooth guy but it was still a fire spewing toxins in the air and anything can still happen so getting it out should still be a priority. I would have expected them to start taking note of the cameras in the alley and getting footage but apparently that is the detectives job. No idea where that guy was but there were certainly plenty of other cops there that I expect could have helped. Clearly they had nothing else to do and could have gotten the detective work started. I don't get that. All hands on deck boys in blue, do whatever you can to fix this, don't wait around!!! The neighborhood needs you!

      I talked to the owner of Houndstooth, he said someone contacted him for 4 hours of footage which takes a long time but I told him EXACTLY the moment it happened so hopefully that will shorten the cycletime. The guy that started the first fire would have come down the alley between Roscoe and Buckingham heading west and turned north to then set ours in fire. If he continued north we got him on the Houndstooth cameras. If not, anyone with cameras in that path please contact and with more details.

      Also -- PLEASE DO NOT put out large furniture or mattresses until garbage day, this is a great target for arsonists and go up even faster than bins. Spread the word, this guy is going down.

      Thanks for hanging with me for the full read!

    4. Excellent details and advice. Thank you, pita!

    5. the audio of your 911 call should make its way to the local news. beyond shocking that you were hung up on!
      you are awesome, pita! so happy to have the likes of you as a neighbor. way to go!!

    6. Couple more details to add, the arson investigator was out here tonight - found out he is the lead in charge. Here is his contact info if you hear of anything. Detective Michael Boeykens 312-746-7618 -- sounds like we have a copy cat, the original arsonist has been in jail for about 3 weeks now. Total losers.

      Some additional advice from the detective -- the bins are made of a plastic which is petroleum based - aka gasoline. This is why they go up so quick. It is a good idea to pull them away from building structures as much as possible and avoid putting them under balconies which will fall victim quickly to the rising flames. Keep your eyes open!

    7. More excellent advice, Pita. Thank you again.

    8. Notice the huge increase in the 911 Fee on your phone bill starting this month.

  2. CWB, do you have any information on the guy who sped his car down W Dakin St last night at 7:45 PM, hitting numerous parked cars before flipping his car? I live right where it happened and it was loud. The guy had to have gotten arrested for reckless driving. It was incredible.

    1. That was a big cluster. Suspected DUI. Driver taken to Illinois Masonic. There was also some crazy element of allegation of car theft involving a homeless person who called 911 to say he didn't steal the car, he left the keys on the hood. Really bizarre.

  3. Pita, I once hauled a garden hose up two stories to try and contain a fire in a building being rehabbed until CFD arrived. All I got for my trouble was a one day suspension without pay and bad lungs. Of course, had a citizen been saved (I'd seen them there earlier) I'd have gotten a dept award, but they'd left, so I got screwed. Not sure why those coppers didn't help but if citizens knew the BS we get written up for...