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Landscaping Company's Trailer Ignites Near Park, Injures Worker: Witness

By Benjamin Woodard | April 11, 2014 4:45pm
 A landscaping company's trailer caught fire outside of a park in the 1200 block of West Columbia Avenue.
Columbia Avenue Fire
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ROGERS PARK — A landscaping company's trailer, filled with equipment and gasoline, burst into flames Friday outside of a small park on a residential street, witnesses said.

The fire sparked about 11:30 a.m. and quickly engulfed the red trailer being used by Salvador Landscaping in the 1200 block of West Columbia Avenue.

"I heard two or three really loud explosions," said resident David Burns, who was walking his neighbor's dog at the time. "I came around the corner and saw just a big ball of flame."

Burns said he started snapping photos with his smartphone, then ran down the block to his home to grab another camera.

He said children and their parents had to hop a fence at the rear of the park to avoid the flames at the park's entrance.

Firefighters arrived and quickly put out the blaze, witnesses said.

As of 3:30 p.m. Friday the burned-out trailer remained on the street, its charred contents removed, including what appeared to be lawn-mowing equipment and red gas cans.

Karyn McGroarty, who was pushing her 11-month-old son on a swing a few hours later, said she was shocked to see the scene outside a quiet park.

She said her first reaction was "pretty much, 'Oh, gosh' — that's what I said to him. It doesn't look good. Fire and the wood chips are not a good combination, either."

Armando Juarez, an employee of Salvador Landscaping, said he was nearby when the fire ignited, but wasn't sure what started it.

He said another employee was injured by the flames and was taken to the hospital.

Fire officials did not immediately respond to a request for more information about the employee's condition.

The owner of the landscaping company could not be immediately reached.