ROGERS PARK — Five cars caught fire Friday morning during an explosion in Col. Jennifer Pritzker's new public parking garage on Sheridan Road in Rogers Park.
It's unclear what caused the blast around 5:30 a.m. in Tawani Development's garage at 7331 N. Sheridan Road.
A source on the scene called it a suspected arson. Fire department officials could not immediately confirm that.
Firefighters extinguished the blaze and the cleanup was already underway Friday morning.
Two maintenance workers were at the scene around 8:15 a.m. Friday sweeping up a sea of shattered glass from wall panels that had been blown out during the blast and while the fire was being extinguished.
Contractors associated with the garage were also at the scene surveying the damage.
Shards of glass lined the block down Sheridan Road between Sherwin and Chase avenues, and half the street was blocked off with police tape.
In the garage's entrance was a large pool of water, blackened by soot from the fire above.
Large black streaks could also be see coming from where glass wall panels had blown out along the building's Sheridan Road-facing side, leaving burn marks along the building's second story.
Several passersby stopped to take in the scene, saying they hadn't heard about the early morning explosion.
Bill Morton, president of the Rogers Park Chamber of Commerce, said after other instances of crime in the area over the past few months, he and others are now forming a "neighborhood watch" group.
"The chamber was unanimously opposed to the building of this parking structure due to public safety concerns, which inevitably happened," Morton said.
Tawani representatives did not immediately return request for comment.
Col. Jennifer Pritzker (right with sword), and Ald. Joe Moore (second from right) are among the group who cut the ribbon on the new garage in September. (DNAinfo/Linze Rice)
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