Oven Sparked Bakery Blaze: Firefighters

It's unclear if first-floor oven was misused or malfunctioned

The owners of a northwest side bakery damaged in a Monday morning fire said they may never reopen if the building is condemned.

It took firefighters more than three hours to put out the fire at the Pasieka Bakery, at 3056 North Milwaukee Avenue. It's unclear if it was misused or if it malfunctioned, but Chicago firefighters pointed to an oven as the cause of the fire.

Heavy smoke permeated the building as fire licked both floors. There's an apartment on the second floor, firefighters said.

"I have to live with the loss and hopefully we can rebuild," said co-owner John Ligas.

The bakery has been open since the 1930s. With its curved glass, the storefront is said to be among Chicago's finest surviving examples of the architecture from that era.

"You felt like you came out of the 1920s," said Daniel Pogorzelski, a member of the Avondale Chamber of Commerce. "It was, in a certain sense, a time warp."

Pogorzelski translated for area resident Maria Wojcik, who said she had a "heavy heart."

"This bakery was the same kind of store she had in her native village in Poland," Pogorzelski explained.

The blaze was out shortly before 1 p.m. There was no immediate work of any injuries.

The fire is the second big blow to Chicago's Polish community this year. The Jefferson Park location of Andy's Deli was gutted by a fire in February.

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