Shoppers back at Michigan Ave. store after fire

December 18, 2009 (CHICAGO) However, shoppers were back in the stores Friday afternoon looking for last-minute gifts.

They barely noticed that there had been fire inside the Nordstrom mall in the 500-block of North Michigan. Three hours later after the fire broke out at approximately 8:22 a.m., the only signs that remained were fans drying out a handful of shops and a closed storefront at Sephora, the cosmetics store where the fire started inside a display case.

Although the fire was contained by the store's sprinkler system, firefighters responded in large numbers. Officials explained that was because there is a hotel attached to the mall.

"We had a response called a high-rise response, where we automatically get 52 firefighters on the scene. Then, another 50 or 60 paramedics here," said Chief James Thompson of the Chicago Fire Dept.

Fortunately, the fire was contained, and by the time most of the Shops at North Bridge opened, everything was back to normal with people racing to get everything done in time time for Christmas.

"I had the realization that Christmas was next week. So, we had to come. We're just walking the streets, going in and out of stores and seeing what might catch our eye," said shopper Patrick Krill.

ABC7 Chicago ran into a group of shoppers from Dayton, Ohio whose boss flew them to Chicago for the day and gave them $200 each.

"Our boss had a very good year, and he wanted to give back to his employees. So, he brought nine of us here, told us to buy whatever we wanted, shop, have lunch, drinks," said Rosy Brchett. "He's great!"

Shoppers were also out in full force along State Street. Inside Macy's, things were hopping, particulary along the jewelry department. A spokeperson for the store says they're optimistic about this holiday season compared to last year.

"They see everything from diamond stud earrings to leather jackets to chenille throws and things that are comfy, cozy, warm at home, even some Snuggies," said Macy's spokesperson Andrea Schwartz.

Practical gifts seem to be key this season. Macy's is going all out to attract shoppers. They have chosen the Woodfield store for an 83-hour marathon. The store will open at 7 a.m. Monday and not close until 6 p.m. on Christmas Eve.

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