LINCOLN SQUARE — Police are urging Lincoln Square and North Center residents to move hay bales and other Halloween decorations away from their homes after at least 10 fires have been set in the area, apparently targeting holiday displays.
A Halloween decoration on a Lincoln Square porch was set on fire Saturday morning, the latest in a string of similar incidents, police said.
The most recent blaze occurred 2:45 a.m. Saturday in the 2200 block of West Ainslie Street, arson detective Fred Schall said. The fire targeted a Halloween decoration and is being investigated as arson, Schall said.
Schall said he thinks this fire is related to other suspected arsons earlier this month in the area. Between Oct. 4-16, someone set fire to nine street corner garbage cans and decorative displays on sidewalks and porches.
Hay bales have been set ablaze in several of the incidents, the Sun-Times reported.
The fires occurred overnight, and at least one caused structural damage to a home, authorities said. Four people were displaced in North Center last week after the hay bale porch fire spread to the sides of their home, the Sun-Times reported.
Police believe one person is responsible for setting the fires, Schall said.
The previous incidents:
- 4:15 a.m. Oct. 16 in the 3600 block of North Leavitt Street
- 3:27 a.m. Oct. 16 in the 3600 block of North Hoyne Avenue
- 3:43 a.m. Oct. 11 in the 2200 block of West Roscoe Street
- 3:10 a.m. Oct. 11 in the 2100 block of West Agatite Avenue
- 2:58 a.m. Oct. 9 in the 4000 block of North Lincoln Avenue
- 4:13 a.m. Oct. 7 in the 4600 block of North Lincoln Avenue
- 4 a.m. Oct. 4 in the 4500 block of North Lincoln Avenue
- 3:48 a.m. Oct. 4 in the 2100 block of West Montrose Avenue
- 1:50 a.m. Oct. 4 in the 4600 block of North Lincoln Avenue
As the person responsible has not been caught, Schall said he suggests neighbors move outdoor decorations away from their houses. He recommended removing hay decorations, “as the offender seems to have an affinity for igniting that particular item.”
Police have questioned one person, but he was released without charges, Schall said. In a community alert, police described the person setting the fires as a balding 35- to 40-year-old man who is about 6 feet tall.
Anyone with information about the fires is asked to call detectives at 312-746-7618.
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