North Side fire displaces 6, blocks away from recent arsons

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A fire that killed two dogs and left six people homeless may be the work of a serial arsonist. (WLS)

Investigators believe a fire at a North Side apartment building may be the work of a serial arsonist. Six people lost their homes and a dog was killed when an explosion ignited a fast-moving fire around 6 p.m. Tuesday in the 1900 block of West Diversey Avenue.

"I looked out the front and thought it was like a gunshot or something and then nothing. And then I heard people screaming in the back. By the time you heard the big boom from the time I went from the front of my house to the back of my house, the whole back porch was up in flames," Mike Dambrose said.

A second dog was injured.

"I even heard the dogs squealing late last night. It was pretty sad," Paul Juaat said.

The three-story apartment may be the latest in a string of arsons in the area in recent weeks. Police are reviewing surveillance video and said they are following good leads. Officials said the fire began in a trash garbage can, as it did in the other fires.

"My house on the corner, our garbage cans are a little away from the house. They're kind of set back," Keith Kristinat said.

Some residents are concerned about leaving pets at home.

"My parents live in the suburbs and we're thinking about bringing him back there right now," Juaat said.

Alderman Scott Waguespack sent out community alerts and said the suspect may be a kid.

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building firearson investigationChicago - Lakeview
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