Update: Larchmont Fire Under Investigation

By Patty Wetli | Tuesday, June 26, 2012

Fire destroys home in 1900 block of West Larchmont. Credit: Sarah Tilotta

A fire that started in a vacant building in the 1900 block of West Larchmont (just south of Irving Park Road) quickly spread to adjacent structures, displacing 10 residents overnight.

Peoples Gas crews were spotted on the scene this morning, with the cause of the fire still under investigation, according to a spokeswoman for Fire Media Affairs. Inspectors from the Building Department are expected to examine the affected buildings later today to determine when and whether residents can return to their homes.

The blaze was reported shortly after 1 a.m. and was eventually raised to extra-alarm status.

Update: CSJ photographer Sarah Tilotta reported from the scene that little remains of the home at 1924 W. Larchmont, where the fire originated. The adjacent building at 1920 W. Larchmont suffered significant damage and is being boarded up; the rear roof collapsed at 1928 W. Larchmont, also charred with broken windows. Peoples Gas crews were shutting off the gas lines underneath the buildings for safety purposes, with a bulldozer standing at the ready, likely to level the home at 1924 W. Larchmont.

Update: House at 1924 undergoing demolition. Video from Sarah Tilotta

Larchmont Fire from Sarah Tilotta on Vimeo.

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  • http://twitter.com/jeffreyharley j. harley

    Why no mention that there have been 19 suspected arson incidents in our neighborhood during the last month? Is there any follow up with CFD? I live on this block (1800 W. Berenice) and these fires are way beyond troubling and coincidental.  

    Has anyone noticed that there has been gang graffiti cropping up all over the block?  Underneath the El tracks at Byron right behind the Black Bear Preschool there was a mocking graffiti that asked “What Have You Witnessed Lately?” I’m only left to speculate that this is in connection with the recent arson terrorizing this corridor over the last month, also about the same time as school got out for the local kids. There have been 2 burned houses on this block facing Grace, now this incident only 1 block away and several other fires just west of Lincoln.  I walk under the El tracks to work every morning and 2 weeks ago there was an abandon vehicle parked underneath the Irving Park Brown Line that was fire-bombed, windows shattered and the interior completely charred.  I read nothing of this anywhere.  This article states that the building was under construction which is also an arsonist’s playground.  CSJ should consider proactively fanning out to all these businesses located on the Irving Corridor to survey their surveillance footage if applicable.  Always Thai, Frank Cleaners, M&G Char Grill, Brownstone, Houston’s Liquor, Foleys, Timber Lanes, Snappy Shrimp, El Llano and Broadway Bank all form a perimeter encompassing this area.  With the gang issues raging across the City, CPD may not have time to take these proactive steps themselves.  If you are a business owner in this community like myself, you cannot wait for these fires to persist and cause you a total loss.  Don’t hold your breath for CFD to formally declare this an arson and let’s not wait for this to get worse resulting in more damage or, heaven forbid, a death.  Take proactive steps now.  Inspect your cameras, notice people carousing through the alleys at night and keep in touch with CPD.         

    -jeffrey harley

    • Judy Raddue

      This is just horrible.  Personally, I’d complain – loud and clear – via letters to the main media outlets and on the Mayor’s Facebook page.  I’m sick and tired of Rahm and McCarthy tout falling overall crime stats, while violent crime (in which I include arson) is on the rise.  Considering that he lives only blocks away, one would think the Mayor would be on top of this.

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