Oak Lawn Fire Chief George Sheets said the fire broke out in a strip mall on 95th Street about 200 feet west of South Cicero Avenue shortly before 3 p.m.
Up to 70 firefighters from 22 engine companies were fighting the fire, which Sheets said was under control within an hour.
There was initially some confusion about the fire’s origin, Kaufmann said. Last Friday, a fake pipe bomb was found near railroad tracks near the David’s Bridal down the street.
But no explosion was heard Wednesday at Eva’s, Radio Shack or surrounding businesses, either by employees or customers, said Oak Lawn Division Chief Mike Kaufmann.
Arson investigators will begin formally examining the property on Thursday morning.
"There's too much smoke and fire at this point to assume anything," said Kaufmann.
The structure will likely need to be razed, he said. The middle businesses were a total loss; two stores at either end -- a mattress store and Miss Fantasia’s lingerie -- also suffered extensive smoke damage.
Ashley Kuhl, of Crestwood, said her wedding dress was destroyed in the fire. Her wedding is planned for Dec. 4.
In a statement on the company's website, Eva's Bridals said it was "just as devastated as anyone:"
- There are no words to describe how we feel about today's tragic event, we can not even imagine how you feel. Our main concern is our brides and their gowns. Over the last 45 years we have built excellent relationship's with all of our designers, we are working hand in hand with them to deliver your gowns. We are just as devastated as anyone, as this has been our home for over 30 years. We are grateful for no physical injuries and are saddened by the emotional toll this will have on everyone. We will keep this website updated as we know more information. Sincerely, The family at Eva's Bridals Oak Lawn firstname.lastname@example.org
Brides-to-be who lost their dressees in the fire and who have weddings within the next week can contact Complete Bridal Salon of West Dundee. The company has offered free dresses. Brides-to-be just need to take care of alterations and dry cleaning.