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By Josh Bootsma

LANSING, Ill. (November 5, 2022) – The winds that ripped through Lansing Saturday afternoon downed a live electrical wire that slowly and repeatedly set a car on fire near the intersection of Randolph and William Street.

From front tire to car fire

Shortly after 12:30 p.m., John, a Lansing resident, was at work when he received a call from his wife that the front tire of his truck, parked along Randolph Street, was on fire.

Joining his family at home shortly after, John was greeted by Lansing firefighters who explained that a live electrical wire was emitting sparks near his truck. Firefighters attempted to use fire suppression to keep the fire and sparks at bay.

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“I thought it was going to be good,” said John, explaining that the fire seemed to be totally gone at one point.

However, sparks continued to flare as strong winds blew the live wire about, eventually setting the truck ablaze.

“Once I saw the firemen standing back, I knew it was serious, because they’ll go into anything,” John said.

The following videos of the car fire were taken by John’s family, Connie Simon, and Hannah Green:

Safety first

Downed around 12:30 p.m., the wire remained live until after 2:30 p.m. By 3:20 p.m., the power to the line had been turned off by ComEd. Throughout the incident, the fire department urged local residents to stay far away from the live wire.

“At first [the fire] was just by the front, so I [was] thinking ‘I can come home and probably get in [and move the truck].’ But I’m glad I wasn’t here, because I probably would have tried to hop in, but come on, it’s not worth a life,” John said. “I’m just glad nobody got hurt, that’s all I care about.”

car fire
John’s truck was completely burned out. He said the truck was insured. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

Watching from afar with other curious residents shortly after 2 p.m., Lansing’s Connie Simon said she heard the live wire “arcing” as she watched “full, black smoke” billow from the vehicle.

During the blaze, Lansing Fire took steps to ensure John’s house and other vehicles would not be set ablaze.

“I didn’t care about the truck any more, I was just worried about my house,” John said. “I’m just glad nobody got hurt. The truck is material.”

car fire
A ComEd technician examines the felled power line near the intersection of Randolph and William Street at 3:36 p.m. (Photo: Josh Bootsma)

According to guidance on ComEd’s website, residents should “Stay away from downed or dangling power lines — especially in the dark — and report them to ComEd immediately” by calling 800-EDISON1 (800-334-7661).

LFD also responds to house fire on 188th Place

Saturday evening the Lansing Fire Department responded to reports from neighbors of smoke coming from a house on 188th Place. By 5:30 p.m. engines from Munster and Lynwood lined the street, ready to assist. No flames could be seen from the street, but Lansing firefighters later explained that it appeared to be an accidental kitchen fire in the interior of the home.

Firefighters accessed the kitchen fire from the roof in order to let out the increasing heat and let in the light. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

The house was empty at the time of the fire, and no one was injured. One member of the Lansing Fire Department mentioned that the house was very well insulated, and that helped keep the fire contained.

Around 6:30 p.m. firefighters had the incident under control and began packing up equipment. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)
At the same time that LFD was responding to the house fire, Lansing Public Works was notified of a water main break on 188th. (Photo: Melanie Jongsma)

Up to four water main breaks were reported on Saturday, two of which were in Oakwood Estates. The Lansing Journal has no further information about those reports at this time.

Reporter’s note: An earlier version of this story incorrectly reported that the house fire was on Oakwood Avenue. Oakwood curves and becomes 188th Place before the area impacted by the fire. That section of the story has been updated with the correct street name.

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1 COMMENT

  1. I lost power briefly and heard all the sirens. The fire ws only a few blocks from me. Great coverge Josh ! Would love to see more like it . Glad nobody was hurt in this incident ! Great job Lansing Fire and Police Departments , We are proud of you all on such a busy day !

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