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CHICAGO (CBS) — Residents of the city’s Far Southeast Side were concerned Monday night after a series of fires – some of them intentionally started.
Buildings, garages, and cars were all destroyed. And as CBS 2’s Charlie De Mar reported, residents in Hegewisch want this stop before someone gets hurt or dies.
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Nobody was hurt when an abandoned restaurant caught fire Monday morning, in the latest in a string of suspicious fires in the Hegewisch neighborhood.
Meanwhile, Justin Mattson recorded cell phone video as his neighbor’s garage caught fire in the area overnight.
“It was a pretty frantic thing, man,” Mattson said. “It went from zero to 100 really fast.”
Chicago firefighters raced to put out the garage fire in an alley behind South Buffalo Avenue. The garage and car are a total loss.
“Within a few minutes, I could smell the burning plastic,” Mattson said.
“The flames were bursting up there,” added Jodi Thorton.
Jodi Thorton’s relatives live where the fire started.
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“We don’t need it turning into something going into somebody’s house and killing somebody,” she said.
Meanwhile on Monday morning, a fire erupted in the aforementioned vacant building, last known as Tom’s Truck Stop Restaurant, 2701 E. 130th St.
Over the weekend, a series of fires determined to be arson started just blocks away from the most recent fires. Trash cans were torched, and the flames spread quickly to attached garages.
Sparks flew from electrical and cable lines, and some neighbors lost power and internet service.
“Having these fires so recent, I mean, one after the other after the other after the other,” Thorton said. “We’re calling for more police out here to look out.”
But police sources said the Hegewisch neighborhood – falling into the South Chicago (4th) District – is understaffed. At last check, only one patrol car was assigned to Hegewisch Monday for the third watch.
“Luckily, it’s just been garbage cans and an empty diner and a couple garages – but how long before it’s a house?” Mattson said.
While there are similarities to the two most recent fires and the garbage can arsons over the weekend, a clear connection has not been made. No arrests have been made.
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