Chicago Heights fire: Massive blaze breaks out at south suburban furniture factory

The fire has since been extinguished, but crews have been monitoring hot spots, officials said.

ByDiane Pathieu, Cate Cauguiran, and Christian Piekos and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Monday, February 6, 2023
Massive blaze breaks out at south suburban furniture factory
A fire in Chicago Heights broke out at a Morgan Li furniture factory on Monday morning near 11th and Washington.

CHICAGO HEIGHTS, Ill. (WLS) -- A massive fire broke out at a Chicago Heights furniture factory on Monday morning.

The blaze, which has since been extinguished, started at a manufacturing facility near 11th and Washington just after 7 a.m.

Multiple fire departments responded to the extra alarm fire, which fully engulfed the warehouse. Crews have remained on scene all day to monitor any hot spots.

Roads were closed at 12th and Washington while crews work to control the blaze. No one was injured.

Chopper 7HD was over the scene of the fire, capturing flames and heavy plumes of smoke that billowed out of the building. There were reports of the thick smoke being seen for miles.

A massive Chicago Heights fire sent a 1,000-foot smoke plume in the air Monday morning.

Chicago Heights officials said the Environmental Protection Agency was on-scene checking air quality, and reported no threat to the community. But, some residents still have their own questions.

"It was mind-blowing. It was really an intense plume," said David Zaber, a Homewood resident.

Witnesses described surreal moments as the fire torched the south suburban facility.

James Muhammad lives down the street from the warehouse, and saw the fire as he was leaving for work early Monday morning.

"I just saw a lot of smoke in the clouds. It was black. I've never seen that before a day in my life. I only saw that in movies," Muhammad said. "I came to my car to get something out of my car and I was just like, 'Woah. I woke up like this.'"

The warehouse belonged to Morgan Li, a company that creates custom furniture for businesses across the country and around the world.

"While the damage of the fire is massive, the most important thing is that all our people are safe and accounted for," Morgan Li said in a statement on Facebook. "Morgan Li is a family-owned and run business and we consider all of our employees an extension of our family."

Morgan Li said the factory at 1001 Washington Street is one of its five manufacturing facilities, and the company will support their customers through those locations.

Raul Avalos said the fire sent an ashy substance nearly three miles away, coating his driveway and cars and leaving him with questions.

"It was ashy type and it was all over. I was very curious what it was," Avalos said. "Is there going to be any health issues with this fire and the debris in the area? And, is there going to be any studies done with the air?"

City officials said Cook County Health officials assesse the air quality and said there was no threat to the community.

The cause of the fire is not yet known, and Morgan Li said it is fully cooperating with the state fire marshal's investigation.

Meanwhile, there is no word for Morgan Li yet about what is going to happen to the employees who worked inside the warehouse.