Entire Shopping Center Destroyed
A LATE-AFTERNOON FIRE FRIDAY gutted a strip mall in Chicago's North Side. The blaze was started by roofers working on part of the shopping center and improperly using torches. The roof area was loaded with roofing materials stacked for usage.
The Chicago Tribune reported that the fire began just before 4 pm and was well underway as the FD was arriving on the scene. After determining that the construction was of a type vulnerable to collapse, a defensive attack was set up. Compunding the problem were several propane tanks also stored on the roof by the workmen that became involved and triggered a series of explosions within the fire. Shortly after 5 pm the first of two roofs did collapse.
The fire began over a furniture store and spread to a mattress shop adding greatly to the fire load. At the peak of the fire there were five aerial streams in service.
The fire was contained and marked under control at 6:30 pm but units remained on the scene for several hours following. The CFD says that they had 207 firefighters on the call.
ShapPhoto has a good raw video coverage synched with radio traffic:
The Chicago Tribune has the STORY.
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