Bridgeport Warehouse Fire Flares Again

Fire officials said it's a "significant rekindle" that they were expecting with crews already on scene

By Staff Report
|  Thursday, Jan 24, 2013  |  Updated 8:13 PM CDT
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The fire that lit up Chicago skies Tuesday night and consumed a third of the city's fire department rekindled Thursday.

The fire that lit up Chicago skies Tuesday night and consumed a third of the city's fire department rekindled Thursday.

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Fire "Looked Like Hell On The Next Block"

Remnants of an abandoned south side warehouse continued to smolder on Wednesday, nearly 24 hours after the structure went up in flames. Charlie Wojciechowski reports.
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The fire that lit up Chicago skies Tuesday night and consumed a third of the city's fire department rekindled Thursday morning.

Images of the abandoned warehouse at 37th Street and Ashland Avenue in Bridgeport showed flames again shooting through the roof and smoke pouring south as fire equipment gathered at the building. The flames began again just before 6 a.m.

Chicago Fire officials called it a "significant rekindle" that they were expecting with crews already on the scene. Because the fire rekindled at the center of the building, firefighters defensively battled the blaze at the perimeter. A rarely used "deluge unit" was brought in to help douse the fire.

"Deluge unit is a vehicle with large plumbing to allow several hose lines to feed a single nozzle to combine lines for high volume," Chicago Fire Media tweeted.

Ashland remained shut down between 35th and 39th streets. No injuries were reported.

"We know that we still have buried debris that's burning. The hose lines are not capable of getting at it," Dep. Fire Commissioner John McNicholas said the day before.

With temperatures still hovering around 10 degrees, the continued to smolder Wednesday afternoon as bundled up firefighters poured water on hotspots within the warehouse's frozen facade.

Flames seen spouting from an abandoned Bridgeport warehouse Thursday morning

The fire, an official said, was the largest Chicago had seen in seven years.

"It looked like hell was on the next block," neighbor Jaime Lamus said.

More than 200 firefighters turned out beginning around 9:30 p.m. Tuesday to battle the massive five-alarm fire that engulfed the warehouse and spread to at least one other building.

The building, portions of which collapsed under the heat and flames, was considered a loss and will be torn down.

The firefighting effort created another hazard: massive amounts of ice on Ashland Avenue. Snow plows repeatedly salted the roadway in an attempt to keep the area safe.

A battalion chief who happened to be driving by the boarded-up warehouse first spotted smoke coming from the vacant building around 9 p.m. Tuesday and called it in to authorities. The fire was quickly elevated to five alarms, which typically calls about 30 percent of the entire city's firefighting equipment to a single location.

The warehouse was formerly the Harris Marcus Group Building, a lamp manufacturer that once employed hundreds on Chicago's South Side.
 

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