Fire, ice mix as Chicago warehouse burns again


CBS News Chicago

Posted on January 24, 2013 at 10:29 AM

CHICAGO — A fire warehouse on the South Side of Chicago broke out again early Thursday,  two days after the blaze sent about a third of the city’s fire department to battle the blaze.

The initial fire on Tuesday night was the biggest in Chicago in seven years, reported CBS News in Chicago.

It began burning again on Thursday morning and had once again fully engulfed the building. The warehouse is filled with old timber and hotspots from the initial blaze rekindled once again.

Fire department spokesman Larry Langford said the commanders on the scene expected the fire to start again and have the fire contained to the ice-encased structure.

Fire officials have brought in a “deluge” unit to help pump even more water. Firefighters could be on the scene for days, officials said.

Deputy Fire Commisioner John McNicholas, said: “As that fire starts to fester itself, eventually it gets enough air again and this is what you see here. There’s a big concern of collapse. We know the structure has been compromised from the fire as well as from the ice that’s sitting on it.”

McNicholas estimated that the building is coated with 6 to 8 inches of ice.

Firefighters raised a 5-11 alarm, and two special alarms, for the blaze on Tuesday. That brought approximately 200 firefighters and more than 50 fire companies — about a third of the city’s fire vehicles — to the scene at 3757 S. Ashland Av., on the border between Bridgeport and McKinley Park.

The fire burned out of control on Tuesday night into Wednesday morning. Even when the worst of the flames were out, crews stayed on the scene for hours to douse hotspots, and prevent the fire from flaring up again.

That effort apparently wasn’t enough as the fire began burning again on Thursday morning.

Not only were crews battling a huge amount of flames, but the coldest weather in about two years also played a factor.

The cause of the fire remains under investigation.