Series of suspicious fires under investigation on North Side

Chicago police are investigating a series of suspicious fires that quickly sprang up Tuesday evening in North Center and Roscoe Village. No injuries were reported. A similar, but a smaller outbreak of suspicious fires was reported the previous night in Lakeview.

Officer Anthony Spicuzza, a CPD spokesperson, said overnight that the department did not have an official count of arson cases from Tuesday or Monday. A Chicago Fire Department spokesperson did not immediately respond to an inquiry.

Tuesday’s fires, which broke out between 9:15 p.m. and 9:45 p.m., were generally concentrated in two areas: near the intersection of Waveland and Lincoln and near the 2200 block of West Cornelia.

All of the incidents involved fires set to garbage and large items like discarded mattresses that were left in alleys. Some of the fires spread to nearby structures, including a garage on the 3400 block of North Leavitt, according to Spicuzza.

Police did not have reliable descriptions of the person or persons responsible for the fires.

Police and fire department personnel responded to similar fires in Lakeview between 10:15 p.m. and 11:45 p.m. Monday. A couple of isolated rubbish fires were also reported Monday in Uptown and Ravenswood, according to CPD records.

A major fire on the upper floor of a residential building at 3201 North Wolcott around 10:30 p.m. Monday was classified as non-criminal, Spicuzza said. The building’s ground floor is home to the Roscoe Village Chamber of Commerce.

This week’s fires came amid widely circulated social media rumors of an organized arson plot against the North Side. Other posts online encouraged people to search their neighborhoods for hidden gasoline containers.

But police and fire officials called the rumors unfounded, Block Club Chicago reported Tuesday morning.

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