Tire fire creates massive flames in small structure

February 15, 2014 (MELROSE PARK, Ill.)

Fifteen cities have responded by sending their firefighters to the scene.

There is not much left of the building beside the exterior walls. Firefighters battled the flames for more than three hours.

Flames shoot from the building into the night sky. Thick black smoke fills the air over the western suburbs. It can be seen from miles away, giving the impression that a massive structure is burning.

In fact, it is a relatively small structure. It quickly grew into a massive fie from what apparently began as a small fire at the Jacobson Tire Shop.

"I seen flames about 60-feet high in the air and I thought it was a whole half a block that was burning as high as the flames were. Thank god it's not," said witness Maurice Long.

"Men showed up on the scene, the fire all the way through the roof, and consequently they went into action," said Chief Rob Hjelmgren, Northlake Fire Department. "We had a little water problem, we went to a second alarm right away."

Neighbors say the tire shop had been open for business during the day, but was closed by the time they noticed smoke coming for the building about 5:30 p.m. Fire officials say no one was hurt.

"By the time we got out, it was super smoky and we couldn't even breathe the smoke was so bad," said neighbor Megan Alagna.

Firefighters from numerous surrounding communities are called out to the 4 alarm blaze. They pour water from all directions but the flames persist.

Neighbors say there were piles of tires all over the lot. Wayne Master lives in an apartment behind the shop. Once he saw the flames he left as quickly as he could.

"Everything I own's in there. It's just been a hell of a day already," he said. "I hope everything's alright, we probably won't be able to go back tonight," he said.

Fire investigators have not yet been able to determine what caused the fire. They have been able to control the blaze and the damage to the tire shop.

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