A small porch fire at the historic Hales Mansion over the weekend might have alarmed neighbors, but the new owners and the Oak Park Fire Department say it was small and extinguished within a few minutes.

The fire started around 7 p.m. on Sunday, Aug. 18 on the porch of the building at 509 N. Oak Park Ave.

Deputy Fire Chief Peter Pilafas said in a telephone interview that the cause of the fire is still under investigation, but firefighters say it involved construction materials left on the porch.

No one was injured in the incident, Pilafas said.

The residence, which sold in May for more than $1.5 million, is currently undergoing a renovation to make room for The Language & Music School.

Language & Music School co-owner Brando Fermi-Crawford said in a telephone interview that the school is set to begin offering classes on Sept. 3.

He said the small fire did not cause much damage and was contained to the porch.

“It’s almost like a higher power is watching over us,” he said, also thanking “vigilant neighbors” who called the fire department.

Fermi-Crawford said the school is holding an open house for the public on Sunday, Sept. 20, from 4 to 7 p.m.


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