Overnight Garage Fires Spark Arson Suspicion

Six garages burned around midnight in Andersonville

By Lauren Petty and Anthony Ponce
|  Wednesday, Aug 8, 2012  |  Updated 9:22 PM CDT
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Garage fire near Farragut and Ashland avenues quickly spread to neighboring structures, leaving behind charred frames and crumpled doors. Anthony Ponce reports.

Garage fire near Farragut and Ashland avenues quickly spread to neighboring structures, leaving behind charred frames and crumpled doors. Anthony Ponce reports.

An overnight fire that damaged six garages in Chicago's Andersonville neighborhood has ignited arson suspicion.

Officially, fire department personnel said there's nothing to indicate the fires were arson, though neighbors aren't buying it. Bomb and arson units continued to investigate Wednesday.

The blaze started around midnight at a garage near Farragut and Ashland avenues and quickly spread to neighboring garages, leaving behind charred frames and crumpled doors.

Thee cars were damaged in the fire. A convertible was found buried beneath a melted garage door, and a Ford Explorer and vintage Corvette were badly damaged in another garage.

"No one was hurt," said Ty Hanson who sadly discovered his destroyed 1975 Stingray Corvette that he's been restoring for more for 15 years. "That's the important thing."

A resident on the block, who declined to be named, told NBCChicago he heard a bang around midnight and saw a neighbor's garage engulfed in flames.

The heat caused siding to slide off the backs of homes on Berwyn Avenue and knocked out cable and internet blocks away.

Neighbor Rich Sypniewski's garage wasn't damaged but he saw the flames and went outside to help put them out with his garden hose.

"It makes you realize what you have," Sypniewski said.

Neighbors said the garage where the fire started was left open Tuesday night before the homeowner went to bed. That resident was not available for comment Wednesday afternoon.

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