Bridgeport warehouse fire one of biggest in years

January 23, 2013 4:29:40 PM PST
All Chicago firefighters have left the scene of Tuesday night's warehouse fire on the city's South Side.

Some of the firefighters had been on location most of the day Wednesday fighting the hot spots that were flaring up at the scene at 37th Street and Ashland Avenue.

The massive warehouse is now one big block of ice. The fire department has pulled the majority of its equipment from the scene. They are still keeping an eye on the hot spots and any further collapse.

Flames could be seen for miles as fire swallowed the former furniture warehouse building.

A fire chief driving in the area saw the flames at the south end of the abandoned building Tuesday night. Crews quickly rushed to the scene while the fire quickly grew inside the vacant wooden building.

Over 20 hours later crews were still going to keep an eye on smoldering hot spots.

"We know it's gonna smolder for at least a day, probably two days," said Chicago Fire Department Deputy Commissioner John McNicholas. "We've been in contact with the building department, we've been in contact with the building owners and they're working with their demolition team to get together their game plan, provide them the proper permits in order to start bringing in heavy equipment to start .dismantling the building."

It's the biggest fire the city has seen in quite some time. It took over 200 firefighters to tackle it. Flames spread fast, even to the building next door, which houses Advertising Flag Company Inc, owners there got a call from their alarm company.

"When I got here all of the windows the frames on the north side of the building were in flames just from the inferred heat from the building that was on fire," said co-owner Randy Smith.

The windows were knocked out in the flag building, and there is a lot of water damage, but smith says the inventory was saved and they will be able to return to work.

Outside, people from all over stopped to take pictures and videos of the building, which is partially collapsed and covered in ice.

Giullermo Ruic stopped to shoot video of the building to show to his family back in Mexico.

"I lived here in Chicago for 25 years and this is the first time I've seen a building like this," he said.

Fire officials will monitor the building throughout the night looking for those hot spots and the building could come down in the next couple of days.