Body found after Long Grove garage fire
Investigators stand back as firefighters finish extinguishing the garage fire at 5123 N. Arlington Heights Road in Long Grove. | Rob Dicker~Sun-Time
Updated: March 12, 2013 2:48PM
Residents of a long-established, close-knit Long Grove neighborhood feared April 24 that they had lost one of their own. The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said this afternoon they may have.
Investigators say the body of a 46-year-old male resident was found following the extinguishment of a garage fire on the 5100 block of North Arlington Heights Road in Long Grove Tuesday.
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office said it was not releasing the identity of the man pending notification by the Lake County Coroner’s Office.
Sheriff’s investigators, with the assistance of the State Fire Marshall, are investigating, they said. The cause of the fire remains undetermined.
Several residents of the 5100 block of North Arlington Heights Road reported hearing an explosion at the home of Eusebio and Doreen Razo, 5123 N. Arlington Heights Road — and the manager of the nearby grocery store said he saw it.
“We just heard something go ‘BOOM!’” said Ron Wyatt, manager of Sunset Foods, 4190 Illinois Route 83, which backs up to the west end of the Razo property.
Wyatt said he and a few other employees happened to be outside at about 9:15 a.m., when something in the Razos’ garage exploded. Leaf-burning is common in the area, but he said it was obvious what had happened involved much more than that.
“We noticed a big ball of fire,” he said.
The Long Grove Fire Protection District and numerous other agencies responded to the residence, near the north terminal of a dead-end road that opens onto Route 83. Chief Robert Turpel said shortly after arriving at the scene that the garage was on fire, but did not note any injuries or deaths.
The Razos’ detached garage was visibly charred, and a car parked near it and the side of the house facing it appeared to have fresh damage. Vehicles from Nicor gas utility and the Illinois State Fire Marshal’s office were parked near the home, and a Lake County deputy blocked off the entrance to the neighborhood at Route 83.
Members of the family could not be reached for comment. Long-time neighbors spoke highly of them and hoped word a death in the garage was false.
“I’m, obviously, going to be heartbroken if it’s one of the family,” said Dan di Grazia, who lives three doors to the south.
The 20-year resident said the Razos had been in their home about 30 years. He said they operated a horse stable on their property, including boarding horses that raced at Arlington Park.
“We bond together,” he said. “We tend to keep a pretty close eye on each other.”
That includes each others’ four-legged companions, di Grazia said. Sometimes his dog, Tilly, will run into the Razos’ horse field, which draws their concern — not because Tilly might frighten a horse and cause it to injure itself, but because a frightened horse might kick Tilly.
“They were more worried that my dog was going to get stomped,” di Grazia said.
Another neighbor, who asked to be identified only as Eva, said she had moved to the block only recently; she said she had met the Razos and enjoyed their company.
Turpel said more information would come later April 24.