Vintage Lincoln Park Building Collapses During Fire

Three story building, once used as a funeral home, was undergoing a complete renovation

By Lisa Balde, BJ Lutz and Anthony Ponce
|  Friday, Sep 16, 2011  |  Updated 6:29 PM CDT
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A vintage building once used as a funeral home collapsed during a raging, two-alarm fire in Lincoln Park on Friday afternoon.

A vintage building once used as a funeral home collapsed during a raging, two-alarm fire in Lincoln Park on Friday afternoon.

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Three-Story Building Collapses During Fire

Fire raged through a three-story vacant building in the 500 block of West Armitage Avenue on Friday afternoon.
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A vintage building once used as a funeral home collapsed during a raging, two-alarm fire in Lincoln Park on Friday afternoon.

The blaze began at about 1 p.m. on the second floor of a three-story brick building at 525 W. Armitage Ave. More than 150 firefighters responded to the building, which was vacant and undergoing a complete renovation.

Large plumes of smoke were seen as far away as downtown as heavy fire raged on in the second and third floors. Video from Sky5 showed the top part of the building collapse about a half hour into the battle. Firefighters continued to tackle the blaze from a neighboring building.

"The guys did a nice job keeping it out of the exposure building," said Dep. District Fire Chief Steve Chikerotis.

The home, used as a funeral home in the 1970s, and more recently as rental units, was being rehabbed. Neighbors reported seeing construction workers shortly before the fire broke out.

"They were restoring it with care and [they were] a very nice young couple. It's just very tragic," said neighbor Marlene Coulis.

A man who answered the phone at the contractor's office said he didn't know what may have caused the fire.

The fire was completely out about two hours after it began without a single injury, fire officials said.

Investigators continue to search for a cause of the fire.

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