CHICAGO — Chicago police are investigating after a series of arsons, one of them fatal, on the city’s Southwest Side.
The fire department says there were a total of seven fires within a few blocks of each other in the Heart of Chicago neighborhood around 3 a.m. Friday.
Most of the fires were in garages.
One person was found dead in a garage in the 2100 block of West 21st Street. According to neighbors, the garage had been converted to a living space for a building care taker, believed to be in his 50’s.
“He was here working for his family, for his wife and his daughter in Mexico. Everything he made he sent back to Mexico,” said neighbor Luis Cueto. Police are conducting a homicide investigation.
The worst damage was done to two residential buildings a few blocks away, in the 2200 block of South Blue Island Avenue, where fire officials found traces of gasoline out back. 25 people made it out safely thanks to a resident who sprang into action to save his family and several others.
“I broke the windows and I broke the door, I broke the air conditioner. I called everybody get out because there’s a big fire.” said Manuel Beltran.
Three other fires were reported at garages in the 1700 block of West 21st Street, the 2100 block of South Wood Street and the 1800 block of West 21st Street.
Nobody was injured in those fires but 15 adults and 10 kids were displaced.
The police bomb and arson unit is investigating all of the fires and the homicide.
This is a developing story. Check back for details.
-The Chicago Tribune contributed to this report