A fire that burned down a detached garage at an east-side Elgin home Friday afternoon has been ruled an arson by juveniles, authorities said.
The blaze, which broke out about 2 p.m. on the 300 block of Jefferson Avenue, is believed to have been caused by "several juveniles," according to Batallion Chief Bryan McMahan of the Elgin Fire Department.
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An Elgin police official said late Friday a police arson investigator was still working the case and more information could become available Saturday.
A girl who lives at the house said the fire broke out because boys in the neighborhood were playing with matches and were unable to put out the fire with a bucket of water.
"It was kind of scary," 10-year-old Brittney Parks said. "I was trying to get all my animals out. I'm kind of glad nothing else happened."
Brittney said she woke up her mother and got her and the family's several dogs and a rabbit out of the home when she saw the garage in flames.
"I really don't know (what happened)," said Colleen Bagley, Brittney's mother. "I was upstairs. I was told there was a fire." When Bagley came downstairs, she called 911.
Francisco Rodriguez, the next-door neighbor, came home as soon as his wife called to tell him the neighbor's garage was on fire. Heat from the fire broke several windows in the sides of the Bagleys' and Rodriguezes' homes.
Two firefighters responding to the fire were bitten by a dog belonging to the property owner. One firefighter was bit on the leg and the other on the side of the head. They were treated and released from the hospital, McMahan said.
No one else was hurt in the fire, he said.
By 2:30 p.m., the small, one-car garage was reduced to a pile of smoldering, charred rubble. Firefighters sifted through the debris to put out any remaining hot spots, and Elgin fire investigators began their work shortly after.