A fire broke out at a recycling plant early Monday on the city's Southwest Side Gage Park neighborhood, consuming the entire building with flames.
About 100 firefighters and 32 trucks responded to the blaze just after 2 a.m. at the building in the 2800 block of West 48th Place. The heat and flames were so intense that firefighters couldn't go inside, forcing them to fight the fire from buckets high above the plant.
Once the blaze began, flames quickly spread. A level one hazmat team was called in as outdoor propane tanks began exploding.
"We backed everybody up, uphill, up wind at a safe distance because of the exploding propane tanks," said Chief Tim Sampey. "And from there they took a defensive position and kept going."
It took an hour and a half to get the bulk of the fire out, Sampey said. No one was inside at the time and no firefighters were hurt.
Parts of the building caved in because of the damage, and the building was deemed a total loss.
Sampey said fire officials are investigating whether the blaze started outside of the plastics recycling plant and spread inside.