Round Lake Beach garage fire put out by neighbor

When Round Lake Beach resident Richard J. Wennerberg Jr. left work early on Friday, he did not expect to be putting out flames engulfing his elderly neighbor’s garage.

“I got home early, turned the corner and my freakin’ neighbor’s garage was on fire,” he said.

Wennerberg is thankful that he made it home in time to catch the fire in the 900 block of Lake Shore Drive before it spread to the rest of the house. At around 1:30 p.m., Wennerberg and a work friend began putting out the flames. He said the two of them sprung into action without much thought.

“It was straight adrenaline; it was instinct,” Wennerberg said.

Wennerberg and his friend first notified the residents of the home that their garage was on fire, then grabbed a hose and doused the flames. By the time firefighters with the Greater Round Lake Fire Protection District arrived at 1:37 p.m., the fire had been reduced to embers.

Fire marshal Tony Breuscher said the department checked for further damage and to make sure the embers had been adequately dampened.

The cause is under investigation, he said.

Neighbor Tim Herrington, who witnessed the aftermath, said he considers Wennerberg a hero.

Wennerberg said he’s just glad to decided to leave work early.

“As far as I’m concerned, it was a sign,” he said.

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