CHICAGO (WLS) -- A fire at a mixed-use industrial building on the city's West Side had firefighters in a defensive crouch for hours Monday afternoon and evening.
Deputy Fire Commander of Operations Marc Ferman said firefighters were called to the 4700 block of West Lake Street in the city's Austin neighborhood around 2 p.m. for a fire near the Green Line tracks at the Cicero station. When they arrived they found heavy smoke conditions.
Firefighters determined that a large fire had broken out inside a structure with a truss roof, which Ferman said is particularly prone to collapse. As a result, they changed strategies and began went on the defensive from the outside of the building.
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Chopper 7HD was over the scene and captured billows of smoke emerging from the flames.
While the fire looked precariously close to trains heading in and out of the Cicero station, officials said winds blowing away from the tracks meant that L service was never interrupted.
The fire broke out in a mostly industrial area, and it was not immediately clear if the building was in use at the time. Officials said part of the building was being used to repair vehicles, and another area was used to create artwork.
"Virtually the whole building was burning at one time," said witness Craig Cesal. "The flames were about three times the height of the building when the first fire trucks got here."
Ferman said three people self-evacuated from the fire. The fire department said one person was taken to Stroger Hospital because of a dog bite, and ABC7 saw a dog in a cage that was taken from the scene, but the circumstances surrounding the dog were not immediately known. No further injuries have been reported.
Ferman said he was not clear on the circumstances of the dog bite, but did note that fires can make animals scared and behave erratically, and so it is possible the dog was afraid and bit someone who was helping it escape the flames.
The fire was still burning as of 6 p.m., with firefighters largely waiting for it to burn through the structure before putting out the last hotspots and starting searches. Ferman said the roof had already partially collapsed and was likely to collapse more, and firefighters would not go inside until they could determine it was safe for them to do so.
The fire is contained, CFD said, and firefighters worked into the night to put out remaining hot spots.
The cause of the fire remains under investigation.