Former Gately's People Store on Far South Side destroyed by extra-alarm fire

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Firefighters battled a three-alarm fire in a commercial building on the Far South Side Friday morning.

Firefighters responded to the fire at 112th and Edbrooke streets at about 3:36 a.m. and later raised it to a three-alarm. Chicago Fire Media said the fire is throughout the roof area.

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Firefighters responded to a fire at ana bandoned building in Chicago's West Roseland neighborhood Friday morning.

The fire is in the former Gately's People Store building, which in some parts is almost five stories tall. Gately's People Store was a major staple on the Far South Side. It closed in the 1990s and since then has been an eyesore for the community.

Chicago Fire Department District Chief Jack Nagle said the majority of the roof on the north end of the building collapsed. There are no reports of any injuries.

Ninth Ward Alderman Anthony Beale remembers it fondly.

"Gately's People Store was the anchor for the Far South Side," Alderman Beale said. "It was a store that I shopped at as a kid. I used to get on the bus and come down and shop here as a kid and it was just the one store you could go to and find everything you needed."

A majority of the building is abandoned and there may be one or two current businesses in the building.

Alderman Beale said since the building closed, there have been nothing but problems.

"We've had numerous violations, code violations as far as the Building Department and so with this fire, it raises a lot of suspicion and the fire department is going to do a thorough investigation to find out exactly what's the cause of this fire and then I'm gonna recommend to the Building Department immediate demolition of this building."

"There is multiple subbasements in the building, so it's very tough to get in there," said Chief Nagle. "Luckily, a lot of the building is vacant, so there are not a lot of contents in there, so it's mostly the roof structure that appears to be involved in fire at this time"

As of 11:30 a.m. firefighters continued to fight the blaze. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

The CTA has temporarily rerouted the 34 South Michigan and 119 Michigan buses.

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