‘Devastating': Blaze Tears Through Historic Bowling Alley Lincoln Square Lanes

Lincoln Square Lanes opened in 1918 and is said to be the city's oldest operating bowling alley

One of Chicago’s oldest bowling alleys, Lincoln Square Lanes, was engulfed in flames early Monday morning on the city’s North Side.

Fire officials said the three-alarm blaze started around 1 a.m. in the 4800 block of North Lincoln Avenue.

The fire started on the second floor of the historic building, which featured the newly remodeled bowling alley on the second floor and a hardware store on the first floor. The roof of the venue collapsed in the flames.

At one point, a mayday was called for a missing firefighter, but fire officials said that firefighter was later accounted for and was looked at at the scene. 

"Shortly after that elevation of the alarm, there was a report of a firefighter missing," said Deputy Fire Commissioner Anthony Vasquez. "A mayday alarm was called at that time. They thought a member was missing but he was just unaccounted for and safe."

Two firefighters were hospitalized with minor injuries, according to Chief Juan Reyes. 

The cause of the fire may have been the grill in the building, according to Chicago Fire media affairs, but investigators had not yet to entered the building. Officials said the cause remained under investigation Monday morning.

Lincoln Square Lanes opened in 1918 and is said to be the city's oldest operating bowling alley, according to its website. Building owner Dave Drehobl, whose family has run the bowling alley for 30 years, said the fire was "devastating."

“I think it’s going to be a disappointment for a lot of people because it was a great place to go to and it had a lot of meories to a lot of people," he said. "It’s really sad, it’s real sad."

A post on Lincoln Square Lane's Facebook page thanked customers for "continued love and support."

"It is with heavy hearts that we bid our customers a saddened farewell," the post read. "We will cherish the memories you have left us with. It is our hope that this historic alley will remain in your thoughts. The LSL family would like to thank you for your continued love and support as we look forward to the future."

Lincoln Avenue remained closed as of 6 a.m. from Winnemac to Western Avenue as firefighters remained at the scene. Western Avenue was closed from Winnemac to Lawrence as firefighters battled the blaze, but the roadway reopened shortly after 5:30 a.m. The Chicago Transit Authority’s no. 49 bus was also being rerouted Monday morning. 

ComEd said about 400 people in the area were without power Monday morning as a result of the fire, but power was expected to be restored later Monday morning.

A GoFundMe page has been set up to help the owners and workers. 

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