Cause of deadly fire atop River North parking garage under investigation

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CHICAGO — A family is mourning the loss of a roofer killed after fire broke out on top of a River North parking garage, as CFD investigators returned to the scene Sunday.

Investigators with the Chicago Fire Department say vapors built up inside the garage’s elevator penthouse may have been ignited by an open flame, causing the fire that killed 47-year-old roofer Terrell Webster and injured four others Saturday afternoon.

Investigators say they’re trying to determine whether adhesives or similar materials were being used, and whether the work the roofers were doing required outside ventilation.

Regardless of the cause, the accident has left the Webster family grieving the loss of a husband, father and brother.

“He was real funny, loveable person, cared about everybody. He was the life of the family basically,” his son Torrie Webster said.

“I’m gonna miss him. He was a good person,” his sister Rhonda Hibbler said.

Terrell Webster had been a roofer his whole life, his family says. His sons even helped him lay a roof on his home. They had just celebrated his birthday on Christmas Eve, and just bought hi parents a new car.

Webster had just begun the River North project, his family says, leading a crew from Combined Roofing Saturday, when investigators say vapors hit an open flame and started the fire.

Torrie Webster doesn’t understand how it could have happened, since his father was so concerned about safety.

“That was his main priority, make sure nothing’s on fire, or we’re not falling off the roof or anything,” Torrie Webster said.

Family says Terrell Webster rock of the family, the man who always knew what to say and how to help.

“He inspired me with good words and just his encouragement about life, and taking care of my family, and loving my family,” Hibbler said.

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