McHenry police were patrolling streets, parks, athletics fields and bike trails for evidence and two suspicious subjects even as firefighters were working to extinguish the extra alarm fire at the former “Just for Fun” Roller Rink in McHenry.
McHenry police were investigating a report that two subjects ran from the scene of an extra alarm fire as the destructive fire began at the former “Just for Run” Roller Rink on North Front Street (Route 31) just south of John Street in McHenry. Then McHenry police received an anonymous tip, and continued to interview people and study evidence collected at the scene of the fire.
On Memorial Day, May 31, 2021, McHenry police announced the arrests (each without incident) of two 14-year-old boys from McHenry who are accused of being connected to the fire that burned most of the building to the ground while firefighters fought the extra alarm fire into Friday morning. Allegedly, one of the boys intentionally started the fire while both were trespassing inside the “Just For Fun” former roller rink building late Thursday, May 27, 2021. An object in the building was ignited, and the boys fled the building. A witness saw two subjects run from the building just as the fire was starting to spread.
The investigation indicates the boys trespassed about 10:25 p.m. The fire department was dispatched for the fire at about 10:28 p.m. Winds were gusting up to about 30 MPH from the northeast and the fire spread quickly.
One of the boys was charged with one count of arson (a Class 2 felony), one count of burglary (a Class 2 felony), and one count of criminal damage to property (a Class 4 felony).
The second boy was charged with one count criminal trespass to property (a Class B misdemeanor).
Both teens have been released to their parents after being petitioned to the 22nd Judicial Circuit Court Juvenile Court, which is comprised solely of the County of McHenry and overseen by the Honorable James S. Cowlin, Chief Circuit Judge.
The Office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal was also notified, and is assisting with the fire investigation.
Anyone with information connected to the fire are urged to contact the Criminal Investigation Division of the McHenry Police Department at 815-363-2599.
Anonymous tips can be made by calling the McHenry Police Department’s tip line at 815-363-2124.
A large number of people were drawn to take a look at the fire, and a steady stream of people arrived along Center Street near Center Street Park directly east of the fire scene.
Police, firefighters, and paramedics from McHenry responded about 10:28 p.m. Thursday, May 27, 2021 to a report of the fire at “Just for Fun” Roller Rink at 914 North Front Street in McHenry.
The first crew on arrival reported heavy fire showing from the front, left corner of the building on the second floor of an abandoned roller rink. McHenry Engine 41 was immediately operating their deck gun on the fire. Fire command reported that the firefighting operations were defensive only.
Fire command described the fire as a wind-driven fire. The National Weather Service observations at the Greater Rockford Airport reported Northeast Winds 20 MPH gusting to 29 MPH.
The roof collapsed at the commercial building fire by 11:00 p.m. and multiple deck guns and multiple hand lines were operating. Large pieces of burning debris were reported in the block of 3000 Kane Avenue.
Multiple hand lines and a deck gun were operating to extinguish the fire by 10:48 p.m.
A MABAS Division 5 Box Alarm #5-1241 was activated at about 10:37 p.m. for a fire involved in a 2-story commercial building 100 feet by 170 feet.
A Second Alarm was activated at 10:44 p.m. and a Third Alarm was activated at 10:54 p.m.
The cause of the fire may have a suspicious origin.
Route 31 was shut down in both directions north of Kane Avenue and south of Elm Street in McHenry.
The owner announced in July 2020 that the roller skating rink at 914 N. Front Street would be closing in the fall. Another location in Mundelein is still operating.
The information in this article is an early report published before any summary information was confirmed or released by police or fire authorities.
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