BRIDGEPORT — Two Bridgeport men have been arrested, accused of starting a garage fire that spread to three garages in the neighborhood, police and fire officials said.
James Pascente and Richard Rayborn have been charged with arson in connection to a garage fire at 3:25 a.m. Monday in the 3100 block of South Lowe Avenue, said Officer Ana Pacheco, a Chicago Police Department spokeswoman.
The blaze consumed one garage and caused significant damage to the two neighboring garages.
Investigators are looking to see if Pascente and Rayborn were involved in other arsons in the neighborhood, said Larry Langford, a spokesman for the Chicago Fire Department.
One garage was totaled and two neighboring garages were damaged by a fire Monday in the 3100 block of South Lowe Avenue. [Provided/Susan Rayner]
On July 24, a series of garage fires swept through the 3300 block of South May Street, damaging three garages and one home, police said. No one was hurt, and no one was arrested at the time, police said.
Miguel Martinez was at the White Sox-Cubs game at Wrigley Field that night when he got a call saying his home in the 3300 block of South May had caught fire. His family was able to escape, but Martinez said he was not as surprised as one might be by the news.
"This is actually the second time my house has been on fire in seven months," Martinez said. "This time around, the damages are bad."
In December, Martinez said a garbage can fire on the block spread to his house but was put out. This time, the garage next door was set ablaze, and the fire spread to two garages and his home, causing $250,000 in damage, Martinez said.
A series of fires in the 3300 block of South May in July damaged three garages and at least one house. [DNAinfo/Joe Ward]
Who started the fires — and why — has puzzled Martinez and other neighbors.
"I have no idea" why the fires were set, Martinez said. "I don't know if it's random or not. I have no clue. That's the scary part."
Police arrested Pascente, 58, and Rayborn, 40, after they were identified as the arsonists, police said. The men, who live in the 3400 block of South Wallace Avenue, have both been charged with five counts of felony arson to real estate or personal property.