Extra-alarm fire struck at West Loop metal plating plant

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Hundreds of Chicago firefighters spent hours battling flames at a metal plating company in the West Loop neighborhood Thursday morning. No injuries were reported.

Chopper 7HD captured images of flames shooting through the roof of the American Nickel Works Company at 1201 West Lake Street. Fire officials said they first received reports of flames around 4:30 a.m.

"They attempted an aggressive interior attack. The incident commander on the scene immediately held them back because of the occupancy and the concern about the goods inside there," Dept. Fire Commissioner James Soludczyk said.

Around 220 firefighters had to attack flames from the outside due to concerns over the materials inside the metal plating company.

"They maintain several hundred gallons of mild corrosives and metal oxides that they use for their plating operations," said Dep. District Chief Jamar Sullivan, a hazardous material coordinator for the Chicago Fire Department.

It took a few hours before firefighters were able to completely knock out the flames. In addition to concerns over the chemicals materials inside the plant, other challenges including high voltage wires and access to the area.

"Whatever alleyway we did have was extremely narrow and we had high voltage wires in the alley," Soludyczyk said.

ComEd was called to shut the power off to the surrounding area affecting nearby residents and businesses. After the fire was out, Hazmat crews went to work to test the air and water run-off from the plant.

"There are some chemicals that may have been inside of the area where the fire actually at and some of the chemicals may have been compromised but we have not had any hazardous readings outside of the building itself," Sullivan said.

Several streets in the area were closed and CTA Green and Pink Line service was suspended for hours before resuming with residual delays.
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