Firefighters battled four blazes on the South Side in less than two hours

By David Skolnick


Four fires in less than two hours on the city’s South Side that kept firefighters busy were intentionally set, said Fire Chief John J. O’Neill Jr.

“The South Side has been kind of hot the last few weeks,” meaning a lot of fires in that area were purposely set, O’Neill said.

But fire officials don’t believe the four set between late Tuesday and early Wednesday as well as others in recent weeks are the work of a serial arsonist, O’Neill said.

“There’s too many different ways they’ve been set; they aren’t consistent,” he said.

The fire department suspects some of the blazes were set by those living near vacant houses, such as the four set on fire late Tuesday and early Wednesday, who are frustrated those properties have yet to be demolished, O’Neill said.

The four arsons were reported to the fire department between 10:36 p.m. Tuesday and 12:35 a.m. Wednesday.

Two houses next to each other, 912 and 914 Brentwood Ave., were set by the same person, O’Neill said. The house at 912 Brentwood is a total loss, but the 914 house — in which firefighters found paper towels throughout the first floor and had a very heavy scent of accelerants — was saved after receiving minor damage, O’Neill said.

A house at 3523 Erie St. is a total loss. The call for that fire came in at 10:50 p.m. Tuesday.

Also, a duplex at 201-203 Delason Ave., where a fire was reported at 12:35 a.m. Wednesday, is a total loss, O’Neill said.

Arson destroyed a house at 65 Delason Ave. at 1 a.m. Tuesday. It also caused damage to the houses on either side of it, 61 and 69 Delason, O’Neill said.

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