Cause of fire at Hebrew Ysraelite Cultural Center under investigation

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Investigators have been called to determine what caused a fire that ripped through a religious cultural center Monday night.

Fire tore through the Hebrew Ysraelite Cultural Center Monday night in the 7100-block of South Chicago Avenue. Firefighters responded to the scene at about 8:30 p.m.

Firefighters remained on the scene Tuesday morning to watch for hot spots.

The flames were massive, swallowing the building, after the fire went into the roof, the fire was upgraded and more equipment was called in. There are apartments on top of the cultural center. A disabled woman had to be rescued from the second floor.

No one was injured. The Red Cross is helping those who have been displaced.

Tamarra Brown says she used to work inside the building and remembers it not just as a house of worship, but a place to gather and hold a party each month.

"I used to bartend here, there would be parties here like every Saturday of month, every last Saturday, and I would bartend and my friend texted me last night that it had burned down and I was like, 'What?' I couldn't believe it was sad," Brown said.

Because of the severe damage, the question is if the building can still remain standing.

"At the time we had to get our firefighters out there we had to set up collapse zones because of our fear of collapse, and actually the roof did come in we're still concerned about the walls," said Chicago Fire District Chief Dan Cunningham.
Firefighters had to come back multiple times to put out hot spots. The Chicago Police Bomb and Arson Unit will also move in to investigate and eventually determine a cause.
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