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Waukegan barber school blaze termed ‘suspicious’

Jim DavilWadsworth owner DavilAssociates Waukegan looks over fire damage UNEXT Barber Academy located 2416 WashingtStreet Waukegan. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times

Jim Davila of Wadsworth owner of Davila and Associates in Waukegan looks over fire damage at UNEXT Barber Academy located at 2416 Washington Street in Waukegan. | Thomas Delany Jr.~Sun-Times Media

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Updated: December 18, 2012 2:06AM

WAUKEGAN — Police are investigating an overnight fire Wednesday into Thursday that caused an estimated $100,000 in damage at U Next Barber Academy, 2416 Washington St.

The blaze, which kept Waukegan Fire Department personnel at the scene for five hours, was described by Fire Marshal Steve Lenzi as “a real stubborn fire” that was determined to have been suspicious in origin.

“It started in an office area and appears to have been an incendiary fire,” Lenzi said Thursday, “and we have turned it over to the police.”

Lenzi added that when fire crews responded to the scene around 1:30 a.m., a rear door to the business was unlocked.

A crew with two engines, a ladder truck and a rescue squad was on the scene until 6:30 a.m. containing a fire that was largely tucked inside a soffit and ceiling area in a structure that adjoins at least two other commercial spaces.

“It was a very smoky, smoldering fire that apparently had been burning for quite a while when we got there,” Lenzi said. “There were hidden hot spots that we had to find, and most of the damage was from smoke. There actually (was) very minimal fire damage.”

No one was injured in the incident. Attempts to reach U Next officials for comment were not successful.

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