Chicago Ridge homeowners known for massive Christmas display lose decorations in garage fire

Multiple garages went up in smoke Tuesday afternoon in Chicago Ridge.

And one of those garages was filled with displays for a massive Christmas decoration tradition.

"I saw a gentleman out there with flames going up his garage and kind of surrounding them a little bit," said Ray Pehler who lives nearby. "I watched it as it went from the neighbor's garage across his backyard, and then into the next backyard."

Four garages and several sheds were toasted — including Bob Kasper’s on Lyman Avenue, which is filled to the brim with thousands of Christmas lights and handmade displays.

"We’re talking 8-foot-long race cars and airplanes and helicopters, and every year I add something new —  last year a crane, got a tank," said Kasper.

His garage also housed two vintage cars — a 1968 Impala convertible and a 1972 Corvette, which didn’t fair as well.


"I was trying to get my cars out of the garage and the policeman said ‘I’m gonna arrest you if you go get the other one,’" said Kasper.

He has been flooding his property with Christmas decorations for decades. It is one of those homes that is a traditional nighttime stop sometime in December.

"I love to do it, you know? I go out there and talking to kids, it’s great," he said.

November 1 is when this retired auto mechanic starts to build the display. Now, he says, it’s going to be a busy summer, but they will be lit up this holiday season.

Neighbors tell us this fire started from a cigarette butt in a backyard. 

There were no injuries reported.