West Side building housing truck repair business collapses after fire

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Part of a building came crumbling down during a huge fire Monday morning. (WLS)

A building housing a truck repair business collapsed after a fire on the West Side Monday morning, the Chicago Fire Department said.

The fire broke out at just before 1 a.m. at a business called General Truck Repair at Lake Street and Cicero Avenue in the West Garfield Park neighborhood. A fire company happened to be returning from a nearby fire when they saw the fire in progress. The fire was put out around 2:15 a.m.

The fire left an icy, smoky mess at what was once a truck repair shop and now is nothing more than a pile of burned bricks. Several small explosions went off before the building started to collapse.

"There were a couple minor explosions early on they were probably due to the tires that were associated with the trucks inside," said Chicago Fire District Chief Dan Cunningham. "Eventually the roof did collapse, which is very much expected, which is why we went into defensive mode."

Ice was a huge challenge for firefighters. One firefighter slipped and had to be taken to the hospital.

"We had almost 100 firefighters and 32 fire companies," District Chief Cunningham said. "We have auxiliary people who help us and one of those auxiliary members had a slip and fall and has been transported to the hospital."

Fire hydrants were also freezing up, forcing fire fighters to thaw them with special equipment.

Meanwhile, an occupied building next door had to be evacuated due to the fire threat and one of the entrances to the L station at Cicero Avenue and Lake Street was forced to close since debris from the building piled up in front of it and even on top of the stairwell canopy. The station later reopened.

The cause of the fire is under investigation. No one in the building that had to be evacuated were hurt and there were no other injuries.
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