Second City Cancels Performances for Second Day After Fire

Famed Chicago comedy club Second City has canceled Thursday performances after a fire blazed through the company's offices Wednesday afternoon.

"Thanks to everyone for their support over the past 24 hours. We're assessing damages today and will hopefully have more info by tomorrow morning," Second City said in a statement. "The good news - the Chicago Fire Department did an incredible job of saving the theaters. We still need to clean up the common areas and make sure it's safe for customers, so we're canceling shows tonight at Second City and UP Comedy Club."

The company said its box office will refund tickets for Thursday's performances and all classes and camps would be canceled for the day as well. 

Chicago's iO Theater opened up its offices to the Second City staff after the blaze and also offered class spaces at the theater to teachers at the company. Second City plans to reopen as soon as possible.

"The improv community is a tight one," iO Director Charna Halpern said in a statement. "I'm sure they would do the same for us."

Four firefighters were injured while battling the intense three-alarm fire in an Old Town building, damaging the theater company's offices. 

At least one other person suffered injuries from the thick black smoke that billowed near Wells Street and North Avenue, according to Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford. All four firefighters were listed in stable condition.

The fire started in a storefront at 1612 N. Wells just south of the theater in Old Town. Adobo Grill restaurant occupies the first floor of the three-story building, while apartments occupy the remaining two floors. At one point the out-of-control flames were shooting through the top of the building's nearly collapsed roof.

Upon further investigation, the Office of Fire Investigation identified an accident in Adobo Grill's first-floor kitchen as the cause of the fire. The flames then quickly traveled upwards through the restaurant's vents.

After trying to fight the flames for more than an hour, crews were still unable to put out the angry blaze and the fire was elevated to a 3-11 alarm.

The Second City theater, which launched the careers of scores of comedians and actors, including John Belushi, Tina Fey and Bill Murray, remained safe as of 2:30 p.m., but their offices were destroyed. All showings for Wednesday evening were canceled, the comedy club announced on Twitter.

As the fire spread to the roof officials worked to keep flames from spreading to nearby buildings, including nearby Piper's Alley mall and the building that houses the Second City theater, according to Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford.

Piper's Alley and the Second City faculty and training center were evacuated as firefighters worked to put out the blaze, Langford said. 

Contact Us