Arson Suspected in Salvation Army Trailer Fire

Arson investigator determines donation trailer fire was caused by an open flame ignition, police said.

Oak Lawn police say that arson is suspected in three fires that have occurred at a charity thrift store between September 24 and October 5.

Police were called to the Salvation Army thrift store at 8732 S. Cicero Ave. shortly after midnight on Oct. 1.

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When police arrived, officers could see the entire trailer and clothing donations inside it on fire. The fire did not get into the store but flames had scorched the door, Oak Lawn firefighters said.

An arson investigator said that the trailer door had completely burned open when firefighters got there. The investigator could not determine if the door to trailer was closed when the fire started.

The source of the blaze was just inside the trailer door or outside it. The cause of the fire was likely some type of open flame ignition, the arson investigator said.

Police notified the Salvation Army. A store employee arrived on the scene and explained that sales associates lock up every night around 9:30 p.m. and that store is closed all day Sunday. Employees reopen the store at 7:30 a.m. Monday.

A few weeks ago, the store manager caught someone sleeping in the donations trailer, so store employees have been locking the trailers at night. The employee did not have a description of the person, but said his manager might have more information.

Since employees began locking the donations trailers, three fires have occurred at the store, police said.

The other fires were reported at 11:30 p.m. Sept. 24, and 12:18 a.m. Sept. 25.

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P Flan October 07, 2012 at 07:06 PM
Lucky there wasn't an explosion back there..We dropped off stuff 2 weeks ago and the smell of natural gas was overwhelming..Tried to tell employee just off dock and he walked away when we told him we had a donation..Hope the gas leak was fixed!!
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