McHENRY – Months after a McHenry home caught fire and killed a 12-year-old girl, the house’s charred remnants were left sitting in the yard, a visual reminder of that tragic March 8 night.
Two weeks ago, the home’s garage was torn down and taken away. It was the last piece on the property to be removed.
Now all that remains at 4510 Parkway Ave. is an empty lot and a chain-link fence, allowing the neighborhood to finally move on from the fire that took the life of 12-year-old Dayana Garcia.
“We’re all smiling again,” said Christine Haynes, who lives next door to the house that caught fire. “We can finally open our windows again.”
Haynes’ 6-year-old daughter was close with Dayana, and the constant reminder of the fire kept her daughter grieving the loss of her friend, Haynes said.
“Now she’s remembering how much fun she had with Dayana, and not about how she died,” Haynes said.
On May 19, one day after the Northwest Herald published a story noting that the home’s remnants were still on the property, a large portion of the house was removed, Haynes said.
The demolition process took an especially long time because the home was in the process of foreclosure before the fire, McHenry Code Compliance Inspector Jean Headley said in May. The city was waiting on Bank of America to take possession of the house, which occurred April 22.
A spokesman for Bank of America told the Northwest Herald in May the bank likely would not begin demolition on the house until July. But to the delight of the neighborhood, the majority of the cleanup was completed before then.
“No one thinks about the aftermath of a fire,” Haynes said. “You worry about the family. But no one thinks about how it affects the neighborhood.”
July 25 would have been Dayana Garcia’s 13th birthday. Haynes and her daughter were able to walk to Garcia’s yard and release a balloon, and they didn’t have to walk through garbage to do so.