Chicago fire in Albany Park destroys discount store on Lawrence Avenue, CFD says

JoJo's Discount Warehouse at 3040 W. Lawrence is a total loss, CFD says
CHICAGO (WLS) -- More than 100 firefighters worked to contain a fire that destroyed a retail store along Lawrence Ave. in Chicago's Albany Park neighborhood Tuesday afternoon.

The fire at Jojo's Discount Warehouse, 3040 W. Lawrence, broke out around 12 p.m. and has completely destroyed the building, Chicago Fire Department officials said.

Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said two customers and an employee were inside when they noticed the fire, but everyone was able to get out safely. There were no reports of any injuries.

Langford said the fire caused the roof to cave in and the building is a total loss. The store sold a little bit of everything, including mattresses, and officials said those various items provided plenty of fuel for the fire.

Fire officials initially reported seeing flames in an upper floor storage area, though the cause remains under investigation.

"It was contained to the one building, and we were concerned about it jumping over to the other building right next door," said First Dist. Chief Thomas Carbonneau, Chicago Fire Dept., "but what we did, we opened the ceiling in that other building with a camera, we made sure that no heat was coming across, so we could stop it there."

The owner of the building was at the scene, but declined to comment. Adjacent business owners, including the owner of an auto body shop next door, watched nervously as the building burned.

"I was watching that fire come across," said Eddie Zipperstein, owner, Richard's Body Shop. "I'm like, I hope it doesn't jump across to our building. The firefighters come up on top and were spraying across to try and stop the fire."

This is the fourth major fire in Albany Park in the last four weeks.

In February, Chicago firefighters responded to three fires within three days in Albany Park. The first fire destroyed the Twisted Hippo brewpub, the Ultimate Ninjas gym and an apartment building near Richmond and Montrose Avenue on Feb. 21.

A firefighter was hurt while battling a second fire that burned at a residential building that was under construction near Cullom and Spalding on Feb. 22.

A third fire ripped through the abandoned House on the Rock Church at Spaulding and Sunnyside on Feb. 23.

Firefighters said Tuesday there is nothing to suggest any of the fires are connected.
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