PHOTOS: Crews battle Old Town restaurant fire
Second City is closed Wednesday night and its offices are destroyed, but its theater stages are intact and not severely damaged.
A grease fire broke out around 12:42 p.m. inside the kitchen of Adobo Grill restaurant, located in the 1600-block of N. Wells, and spread to the attic and roof of the building via its ventilation system, officials said. The fire was struck out at 3:55 p.m.
Damage to the building is extensive, including broken glass and water damage. Due to the massive amounts of water required to fight the quickly-spreading fire, officials say crews have been working to redirect the foot-and-a-half of water inside the building to avoid destroying the theater.
"The water started to build up, this is why we're taking our time on this because we don't want to destroy Second City underneath it. So we're trying to redirect the water that started to build up in this fire," said Commissioner Jose Santiago, Chicago Fire Department.
While the fire originated in the building next door, Second City offices and theaters were in the path of the flames. All actors and employees were evacuated safely.
"You could see smoke in the atrium, kind of where the escalators are, and you could see smoke on the top of the roof, but we didn't know it was this extensive," said Jimmy Callahan, a Second City teacher who was instructing a class on the fourth floor.
"We had some facilities managers who all knew exactly what to do," said Tyler Alexander, vice president of brand and marketing for Second City. "They went around and got everyone out of the building very quickly."
Ald. Brian Hopkins of the 2nd Ward says the building where the fire originated was a historic landmark - and due to extensive water and smoke damage, only the facade of the building remains. That building included offices for Second City on its second and third floors.
"They are historic landmarks, they are an important part of the Old Town community, and we may have lost one, we're not sure yet," Ald. Hopkins said.
"We're not going anywhere and this is just a small bump in the road, and we're just really happy that all of the employees, students and actors got out of the building safely," Alexander said.
second city theater area in good shape small amount of water lobby and other areas sustained damage pic.twitter.com/8y9MbZ00nu— Chicago Fire Media (@CFDMedia) August 26, 2015
Four firefighters and one other person were transported to local hospitals in stable condition.
Wells at North Avenue remains closed. However, North Avenue is open at LaSalle and Clybourn for evening traffic.
Fire in Old Town. Next to Second City. pic.twitter.com/PuMV1d4AfJ— Holmes McHolmester (@bhomey) August 26, 2015
Even as firefighters were working to control the blaze, Second City kept its signature sense of humor, tweeting, "ICYMI: Yes, there's a fire. And we're working on it. #YesAnd #YesAndLifestyle"