Possible lightning strike sets Steger Village Hall on fire

Storms left many areas of the south and southwest suburbs with downed trees, downed power lines and some minor flooding.

At the Steger Village Hall and police department, investigators are trying to determine what caused a fire last night that left behind melted plastic, charred cabinets, and basically destroyed what was once the base of operations for the small southern suburb of just under 10,000 people.

“We’re still trying to figure out whether it was a lightning strike that caused that, or if one of our copy machines started the fire because of a power surge,” Steger Village President Ken Peterson Jr. told WGN.

Peterson says it was just before 11:00 last night when an officer coming into the building noticed the flames and called the fire department.  And even though the firefighters were just across the parking lot, it was too late.  The fire had apparently been burning for a while.  All they could do was watch in disbelief as the Village Hall was destroyed.

“We have other buildings and we’re just trying to move there and get things back up and running,” Peterson said.  “We’re going to be fine.”

Peterson says the Steger village offices will be moving in with the fire department headquarters at Steger Road and Lewis Avenue, and the police department will be moving in with the local fire station across the parking lot from the Village Hall.

In Orland Park Don Brown — AKA “Mr. Wonderful” according to his neighbor, Pat Reynders — was cutting up a sizable tree that fell in her driveway, blocking her from being able to get out.

“The storm came in really, really fast,” Reynders told WGN.  “I happened to look out to see what was happening, and I thought I had a new tree growing in the middle of my driveway.”

Up the road utility crews were also cutting down trees that had fallen on power lines and caused widespread power outages in the area.

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