Roof Collapses During South Side Blaze

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    NEWSLETTERS

    Albert Johnson
    Flames tore through the old Jerome’s building downtown Sunday morning, causing part of the building to collapse. It’s not the first time this building has burned.

    A South Side industrial building near the Skyway is considered a total loss after going up in flames Monday morning.

    The fire at the unoccupied one-story commercial building at 6913 S. South Chicago Ave. was put out shortly before 6:30 a.m., authorities said.  The building housed a deli, a car wash and several businesses in between.

    No one was hurt but a portion of the roof caved in, leading to one of the most dangerous jobs during the blaze for the firefighters -- combing through the roofing materials inside.

    “We have to go in there and with hand lines, put it out little by little,’’ said Chicago Fire Department spokesman Richard Rosado. adding that crews were also chasing "hot spots."

    Small explosions heard in the building are believed to have been caused by "popping," he said.

    Peoples Gas spokeswoman Jennifer Borders said there was not a gas explosion but crews were still on the scene investigating as of 6:25 a.m.

    ComEd was on the scene as of 7:15 a.m. at the request of the fire department, according to spokeswoman Laura Micheli, who said the fire was not caused by any of their equipment and there were no electrical explosions.

    The fire began about 4:55 a.m. , a still-and-box alarm was initiated at 4:59 a.m. and the alarm was raised to a 2-11, an extra-alarm fire at 5:11 a.m., Rosado said.

    When crews got to the scene flames were shooting through the roof, the blaze was “fully involved” and the scene remains extremely smoky.

    The flames did not spread anywhere and four  “master streams” of water and two hand lines were used in battling the blaze, which has left the structure a “total loss,’’ according to Rosado.

    The city's water department was also notified as the water had to be shut off to the building, Rosado said.

    Thirty fire department companies were on the scene -- including about 100 personnel -- and crews are expected to remain on the scene for at least the next couple of hours.

    The cause of the fire was not known but was under investigation.