Firefighters quickly extinguished a fire that started outside Gurnee Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, 7255 Grand Avenue in Gurnee, Wednesday evening. | Photo: Woo-Sung Shim / Lake and McHenry County Scanner

Authorities believe an improperly discarded cigarette caused bags of salt to catch on fire directly outside a Gurnee car dealership Wednesday evening.

The Gurnee Police Department, Gurnee Fire Department and Grayslake Fire Protection District responded at 6:52 p.m. Wednesday to Gurnee Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, 7255 Grand Avenue, for a report of a commercial structure fire.

Gurnee Fire Department Battalion Chief Bob Heraver said that a fire crew happened to be on the road when the call was dispatched and was able to arrive in two to three minutes.

They found rock salt bags – used to melt ice – on fire directly next to the building on the west side.

Firefighters quickly extinguished a fire that started outside Gurnee Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, 7255 Grand Avenue in Gurnee, Wednesday evening. | Photo: Woo-Sung Shim / Lake and McHenry County Scanner

Firefighters pulled a pre-connected hose line to quickly attack the fire, Heraver said.

A nearby fire hydrant at The Great Escape store was used to establish a water supply.

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The fire was extinguished in around 10 minutes, Heraver said.

The occupants of the dealership safely evacuated and no injuries were reported.

Firefighters quickly extinguished a fire that started outside Gurnee Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, 7255 Grand Avenue in Gurnee, Wednesday evening. | Photo: Woo-Sung Shim / Lake and McHenry County Scanner

Crews were initially concerned with the fire and heat spreading to the building itself, Heraver said.

However, the wall of the dealership is made out of concrete and firefighters verified that there was no fire transfer to the building, albeit cosmetic damage.

A small amount of smoke made its way inside the dealership and triggered the fire alarm.

Firefighters quickly extinguished a fire that started outside Gurnee Chrysler Jeep Dodge Ram, 7255 Grand Avenue in Gurnee, Wednesday evening. | Photo: Woo-Sung Shim / Lake and McHenry County Scanner

Fire investigators believe a cigarette was discarded onto the salt bags and accidentally started the fire, Heraver said.

Investigators do not believe the fire was maliciously started.

The salt bags were valued at approximately $400.

A nearby electric meter also suffered heat damage, Heraver added, prompting a ComEd technician to respond and inspect it.

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