Crews continue battling Wrigleyville fire hotspots within Clark Street building

The fire that erupted next to the el tracks is still burning, but has been confined to one building in the 3300-block of North Clark Street.
October 26, 2013 4:23:58 AM PDT
A big fire that erupted right next to the el tracks Friday evening is still burning right now. The fire is confined to one building containing three businesses in the 3300-block of North Clark Street in Wrigleyville.

PHOTOS: Clark Street Fire in Wrigleyville

Firefighters are still on the scene as they continue to douse the hotspots that keep coming up. For that reason, firefighters have not been able to get inside the building to determine the cause of the fire. However, they believe the fire started at the hookah bar that is located within the building.

As firefighters fought to bring the fire under control, part of the building and the roof collapsed at 3330 N. Clark. In fact, part of the roof exploded into the street in a backdraft situation. No injuries were reported, but firefighters say they rescued a dog. The three-alarm fire response was struck just before 7 p.m. Friday night in the 3300-block of North Clark Street, just south of Wrigley Field.

Investigators believe the fire started in a hookah bar near Clark and School.

With flames and thick smoke pouring from the building, firefighters poured water on it from above and below. At one point the roof collapsed, creating a backdraft-type situation as neighbors like Lee Larkins watched from across the street.

"After that backdraft happened, they really cleared it out so that other firefighters could get in so they could take care of it," said Larkins, Windward Board Shop.

Despite the fire Red Line CTA trains continue to run through the area right next to the building. Neighbors heard the commotion and quickly filled the street to see what happened.

The congested neighborhood just two blocks south of Wrigley Field is filled with bars and restaurants and residential units. Firefighters were able to contain most of the damage to the building where it started.

"The fact that the building to the south is still there is amazing," said Mark Nielsen, Asst. Dep. Fire Commissioner, Chicago Fire Department.

The single story structure holds three businesses, including Roadhouse 66, which was supposed to host a fundraiser for Kat Vallera's Music for Lombok.

"When I first came down and I saw the fire was at Samah, I was kind of crossing my fingers that maybe it wouldn't spread to Roadhouse so we could still have the event. But it spread pretty quickly," said Kat Vallera.

Firefighters plan to have the building completely demolished, but cannot do so until the fire is completely out.

Fire trucks blocked much of Clark Street for several blocks north and south of the fire on Friday night. The #22 Clark bus was rerouted, but the CTA Red and Brown Lines were still running, despite proximity to the fire.

One passenger reported feeling the heat from the fire in a CTA train as it passed.

"As we passed it, there was a huge fire. It was so close to the train that our skin - people were saying - and I felt it as well - our skin actually got hot as we passed the fire it was so close," said Lawrence Well, CTA passenger.

Initially, the fire was reported in the rear of 3330 N. Clark, a one-story commercial building. The Chicago Fire Department tweeted that Roadhouse 66, Samah Hookah Lounge and Thai Classic were the businesses affected.

The fire broke out around 5 p.m.


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