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Pritzker Parking Garage Fire Investigated as Arson, But No Cause Found Yet

By Linze Rice | November 19, 2015 5:52am
 The parking garage in Rogers Park was the scene of a possible arson.
The parking garage in Rogers Park was the scene of a possible arson.
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DNAinfo/Linze Rice

ROGERS PARK — The Chicago Police arson unit is investigating a multicar fire that left the brand new Sheridan Road private parking garage owned by billionaire developer Col. Jennifer Pritzker blackened and burned last week.

Early on Nov. 13, five cars on the fourth floor of the garage at 7331 N. Sheridan Road became engulfed in flames after a fire started in one car and spread to the others, according to reports.

A building contractor at the scene in the hours after the fire said the incident was an "arson," and Officer Jose Estrada, a police spokesman, said the case had been handed over to the Police Department's arson unit. No cause of the fire has been found yet, and the investigation is ongoing, Estrada said.

The building's developers, Pritzker-owned Tawani Enterprises, promised security measures at the parking structure like surveillance cameras throughout and guard patrols from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m..

A Tawani spokeswoman declined to comment if any security guards were on duty during the time of the fire, believed to have started just before 5 a.m., or if any additional security measures were being considered going forward.

She also declined to say if security cameras caught footage of how the fire might have started.

In a 2013 letter to residents explaining his support for the project, Ald. Joe Moore (49th) said Tawani's security plan was upgraded after community feedback, and said the plan was "extraordinary."

"Though safety can never be 100 percent assured, the development team has put together an extraordinary plan that will greatly minimize any potential risk of criminal activity in the structure," Moore wrote.

A statement from Rogers Park Vintage Management, the company that manages the lot, said "safety and security of our customers and community is our top priority," and that the company was "truly grateful" that no one was hurt in the incident.

One woman started a GoFundMe campaign after the fire seeking $2,500, saying her sister's car was totaled in the fire. In the post, she said her sister is a veteran who served in Iraq.

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