Arson suspected in Addison fire at abandoned home for traumatized kids

  • Main entrance of the former Lutherbrook Children's Center in Addison where firefighters battled an early morning blaze Tuesday.

    Main entrance of the former Lutherbrook Children's Center in Addison where firefighters battled an early morning blaze Tuesday. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

  • Addison officials said they plan to demolish the buildings on the former Lutherbrook Children's Center site following years of vandalism and a suspected arson that firefighters battled early Tuesday morning.

    Addison officials said they plan to demolish the buildings on the former Lutherbrook Children's Center site following years of vandalism and a suspected arson that firefighters battled early Tuesday morning. Mark Welsh | Staff Photographer

 
 
Updated 7/27/2021 12:17 PM

An early morning fire at the former site of home for traumatized children in Addison is being investigated as an arson, fire officials said.

Addison Fire Protection District Deputy Chief Erik Kramer said firefighters were called to the former Lutherbrook Children's Center campus at 343 Lake St. just after 3:50 a.m. for reports of a fire in one of the buildings there.

 

Kramer said fire and smoke were both visible upon arrival.

The blaze took almost two hours to extinguish, but no injuries were reported.

The facility has been shuttered since 2016 and owned by the village since 2019. Village officials said they are planning to tear down the site.

Kramer said this is at least the third time he can recall firefighters being dispatched to the campus for fires in the buildings.

"There have been a few attempts, but it never really got going like it was today," he said.

The single-story structure suffered significant structural damage, Kramer said.

No damage estimate was available as village officials said they are in the process of razing the structures on the site.

Village Manager Joe Maranowicz said the site will be fenced off later today and demolition will begin "as soon as possible."

Maranowicz said the village has to wait for utilities to clear the area for demolition, but there's no specific timetable for that.

The village has been trying to find a buyer for the land to redevelop the area who would take care of demolition costs, but has been unsuccessful. Maranowicz said the village would cover those costs and then attempt to recoup them when the land is eventually sold.

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