CHICAGO (WLS) -- The owners of the Chicago Firehouse Restaurant said they will rebuild, despite a fire that heavily damaged the building on Wednesday.
The roof of the Chicago Firehouse Restaurant, located at 14th Street and South Michigan Avenue in the city's South Loop neighborhood, collapsed Wednesday morning as Chicago firefighters battled a 3-alarm fire.
The fire started on the roof, officials said, where work was being done on the building. Chicago firefighters were perched on the top of nearby buildings with hoses trying to extinguish the flames. Heavy smoke billowed from the building and through the South Loop.
While it's an eatery now, the iconic firehouse building is 109 years old. Built in 1905, the fire station was located near Prairie Avenue, where many of Chicago's first families lived, including the Marshall Fields, McCormicks and Palmers.
"Some of us old guys here actually worked in that firehouse. Shame to see what happened," Chicago Fire Commissioner Jose Santiago said.
The restaurant opened in 2000. President Bush celebrated his birthday here with Mayor Daley in 2006. In the 90s, it was a set for the movie "BackDraft."
"Iconic, definitely crazy that the firehouse is on fire," said Gina Altosino, a South Loop employee.
The restaurant's owners issued a statement Wednesday that said, in part, "We owe it to our history, our team and our community to preserve this treasured Chicago landmark which will remain a cornerstone of the South Loop community. Without hesitation or reservation, we will rebuild!"