Fire destroys Oak Lawn bridal shop, RadioShack

November 17, 2010 (OAK LAWN, Ill.) Some bridal gowns and bridesmaid dresses are gone.

The fire broke out at Eva's Bridal and spread to several connecting shops on West 95th Street in Oak Lawn.

The fire started shortly before 3 p.m. Wednesday at a strip mall near the corner of 95th and Cicero.

Fire personnel remained on the scene after extinguishing the blaze to conduct its investigation. They say there was no indication of any foul play, but they did say the flames spread quickly. As many as 100 firefighters battled the fire.

Authorities say the fire started in an Eva's Bridal and spread to two other businesses in the strip mall. A total of five businesses sustained fire or smoke damage, with the worst damage occurring to the Eva's Bridal shop and a RadioShack next door.

Eva's is a complete loss. The roof collapsed and there is very heavy damage to the rest of the structure.

"Once it hit the bridal shop, you could see the dresses go up in flames, the wiring from the dresses," said witness Tyler Schrum.

There were customers and employees inside these businesses at the time the fire started, but everyone escaped safely.

The fire department says no one was injured in the fire.

With the store up in smoke, wedding plans are up in the air.

"I'm very scared. I'm hoping they still have my dress," said Laura Tracy, Eva's Bridal customer.

Casey Aulisa is getting married Friday. She arrived to pick up her wedding dress Wednesday and found Eva's in flames.

"It was lacy and beautiful and I haven't seen anything like it. We've been out looking. And it's really hard. I hate to be so selfish -- there's so many worse things in the world, of course," Aulisa said. "I'm not sure if I'll get a wedding dress. I'll talk to friend toss see if I can borrow one. I don't know what I'll do."

"It was pretty significant fire," said Chief George Sheets, Oak Lawn Fire Department. "Heavy fire from the rear and the front of the building. This is a major thoroughfare, 95th and Cicero. We had to contend with traffic congestion."

Even though firefighters had put out the blaze, traffic during the evening rush was still a mess, with the section of westbound 95th still closed near the strip mall.

A number of customers say that Eva's Bridal is a fixture in Oak Lawn and has been in business for decades. Some of the customers said that they shop at the store because their mothers, their grandmothers, their aunts, or other relatives have shopped there, and that's why they are upset the long-time business fixture is now destroyed.

The Eva's Bridal website says the three-generation business has been open since 1964 and claims to be the oldest bridal salon in the country.

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