Car fire breaks out in Oak Park parking garage

Fire chief says three cars damaged, no one hurt


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By Timothy Inklebarger

Staff Reporter

A car fire broke out at a village-owned parking garage at 720 North Boulevard Tuesday afternoon, damaging two other vehicles and resulting in no injuries, according to the Oak Park Fire Department.

Oak Park Fire Battalion Chief Ron Kobyleski said the fire department was called out to The Avenue parking garage at approximately 12:45 p.m. after a Mazda 3 on the fifth floor of the six-story garage caught on fire. The fire first spread to a Chevy Cobalt parked adjacent to the vehicle and also damaged an adjacent Chevy minivan, Kobyleski said.

He said the fire was contained largely to the engine compartment of the Mazda. The Cobalt was damaged beyond repair and rubber fixtures on the minivan were melted, Kobyleski said.

No one was injured and the fire was extinguished in about 15 minutes, Kobyleski said. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

He said the exploding sound residents heard from the open-air parking facility came from tires of the Mazda. "The heat from the fire melts the tire and obviously there's air pressure in there, so when the tire fails, it releases the air and it sounds like an explosion," he said.

Police are trying to contact the owners of the three automobiles. Oak Park's building department reported there was no damage to the parking facility, Kobyleski said. He described the fire as a "full still" event, requiring every member of the fire department to respond to the blaze. He said car fires are typical for the fire department, but the situation was heightened because of the fire's close proximity to other vehicles.

Mike Craig, a Berwyn resident visiting Oak Park for lunch, waited outside the facility for officers to allow customers to retrieve their vehicles. He said he witnessed "a little flick of orange" flame coming from the structure.

Teresa Dumphey, who parks at the facility for her job at a doctors office nearby, said she heard there was a fire on the fifth floor—the floor where employees at her office park—but her vehicle was not damaged, she said.

"My car was white, now it might be black," she said.

By about 2 p.m. the parking structure had been reopened for patrons to retrieve their vehicles.


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