The Chicagoist will be launching later but in the meantime please enjoy our archives.

Latest Arson Fire In Disturbing Series Destroys North Center Three-Flat

By Kate Shepherd in News on Nov 11, 2015 9:18PM

Crime scene tape (Photo by LukaTDB via Shutterstock)

Several Chicagoans are homeless after an arson fire destroyed a three-flat in the 1900 block of West Diversey Avenue Tuesday evening, according to police reports. It's the latest in a series of nearly 20 arsons that have been occurring in the vicinity of Roscoe Village, West DePaul, Lakeview and Hamlin Park, city officials said in an alert Wednesday.

The blaze in North Center broke out about 6:40 p.m. Tuesday, and no one was injured. However, a witness could hear dogs inside and said it's unlikely that anything in the three-flat is salvageable.

The fire started in trash bins underneath the building's back wooden porch, an anonymous source told the local crime blog Crime In Boystown. Most of the arson incidents have started in garbage bins but the instigator(s) have also set mattresses, and discarded paper boxes on fire with an open flame.

The first arson incident happened on Oct. 4 and there have been 18 since then, according to a community alert sent out by the Chicago Police Department.

City officials are asking neighborhood residents to report any suspicious activity to 911 immediately, to keep the perimeter of their properties well lit, save and make a copy of any video surveillance (if available) of the incident for investigating detective and to secure trash bins and place them in the alley on pick-up day.

If you have any information, please call the Bureau of Detectives - Arson Section (312) 746-7618, Reference Pattern # P15-N-244.