UPDATE: Firefighters Respond to Flames at Ty Warner Park Sunday
The "fairly large" fire burned a 800-square-foot area of the Westmont park and is believed to have been started by two juveniles playing with a lighter.
Updated at 1:35 p.m. Monday:
Westmont firefighters responded to a "fairly large" grass fire at Ty Warner Park in Westmont Sunday night just after 6 p.m., according to Westmont Fire Department administrative director Craig Skala.
The fire spread across 800 square feet, but was always under control, Skala said. There was no dollar loss due to the fire.
"It just burned up grass," Skala said. "It didn't burn up any fencing or toys or anything like that."
Steve Thompson, detective sergeant and public information officer with the Westmont Fire Department, said the fire is believed to have been started by two known juveniles under the age of 16 who were playing with a lighter and stick.
"They ended up catching the brush there on fire," Thompson said.
Rich Ricar of Western Springs said he was fishing in the park's southwest pond at about 6:30 p.m. Sunday when he noticed a small fire to the east of him that very quickly turned into a massive blaze with flames 30 to 40 feet high burning through the very dry five-foot-tall “straw” grass.
The fire was spreading northwards towards the buildings and pavilions, Ricar said, when he yelled for someone to call for help.
“It was relatively small. I think I was one of the first people to see it, because nobody else was yelling anything," Ricar said. "I started yelling out for cell phones, for anyone to call 911, the fire department. … It spread immediately, probably a couple of hundred feet wide and just as long.”
Skala said the fire was quite a sight.
"It looked pretty impressive from a couple blocks away," he said.
Ricar took pictures as fire fighters arrived and hosed down the flames and left the scene once the firemen were just doing cleanup work.
Skala said the initial call came in around 6:12 p.m. and by 7 p.m. the flames had been extinguished by a single-engine crew.
“The fire department got there in probably a couple of minutes; it was a pretty fast response," Ricar said. “They arrived with the trucks and started hosing it down. They got it under control right away. They did what they’re supposed to do.”
Thompson of the police department said any punishment for the juvenile suspects would likely be an "in-house" agreement. Criminal charges will not be pursued.