A three-alarm fire totally destroyed two buildings and sent one firefighter to a hospital after pieces of a collapsing wall struck his chest on the South Side early Tuesday.
The fire started shortly after midnight at a 1-story building at 4754 S. Ashland Ave. and spread to a 4-story building nest door to the south, according to Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford.
About 150 firefighters kept the flames from spreading to a third building at 4752 S. Ashland.
The building at 4754 S. Ashland, which housed La Fogata steakhouse, caved in, collapsed and was “leveled,’’ and 4756, which contains Century Fashions Hat & Shoes, sustained a “major collapse’’ that brought down its south wall and roof, Langford said.
When the wall came down, a piece bounced off the street and struck a male firefighter in the chest, according to Langford, who said the firefighter was transported to Northwestern Memorial Hospital in good condition.
The first floor of Century is a clothing store, and there is a warehouse and product storage on the upper levels, according to Langford, who said it was rendered a “total loss.”
There was no one inside any of the structures.
“It’s a smoky mess,’’ Langford said, adding that the fire department’s largest snorkel, which is 85-feet tall, was brought in to fight the fire.