Decades-old Chinatown supermarket gutted after Chicago firefighters battle morning fire

Chinatown grocery store was staple of community

ByJessica D'Onofrio and Jasmine Minor WLS logo
Wednesday, August 23, 2023
Decades-old Chinatown supermarket gutted after fire
Members of the Chicago Fire Department battled a Chinatown grocery store fire Wednesday morning on Archer Avenue that left the building gutted.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A decades-old Chinatown supermarket is completely gutted after a massive morning fire.

It served as a landmark and a place that felt like home in the community.

The staple was a pile of rubble Wednesday, made up of ash, wood, broken grocery carts and family memories.

While the business has taken on different names over the past few decades, the building itself has remained a constant source of help and light for the neighborhood.

"Really, apologies for, you know, not, not having the words for it," said Angela Moy Leung, whose family previously owned business. "This very vivid memory of my grandfather, when I passed by looking at this building; this building isn't going to exist anymore."

It's the last place Leung had of her grandfather, who immigrated to the states. He started with just a farm, and then started what was then Chinatown Market

"Unloading boxes of vegetables with my grandfather and mopping the floor with my mother," she said. "I would, like, have a little lemonade stand and help sell corn outside."

She said the Moy family owned the business for nearly 20 years before a new family turned it into Park to Shop supermarket, but now it's not even that.

"I remember when markets were opening in the perimeter of the neighborhood; it was very hard for Chinese immigrants, the elderly folks, to access those grocery stores. This is a really big deal," she said.

It took firefighters hours to put out the flames while also battling hot temperatures.

Chicago firefighters responded to the extra-alarm fire at about 3:30 a.m. in the Park To Shop grocery store in the 2100-block of South Archer Avenue. Chopper 7 flew above the scene as smoke billowed from the building.

The Chicago Fire Department said there are no reports of any firefighters suffering from heat fatigue. No injuries have been reported.

The Chicago Fire Department gives an update after a fire ripped through a CHinatown grocery store.

CFD had trouble putting out the fire due to the building's concrete roof. CFD also said ventilation was an issue, with multiple mobile ventilation teams responding.

Fire officials said the city building department was called in to help open up walls to gain access.

At about 6:45 a.m., CFD said the fire was struck. The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Leung said the store could now have the chance to rebuild.

"Our kinds of communities and Chicago as a whole, this whole city is built on resilience after a fire," she said.