Northwest Side furniture store being torn down after extra-alarm fire – Chicago Tribune
An extra-alarm fire gutted a Northwest Side furniture store in the Logan Square neighborhood Thursday morning, but no injuries were reported.
Police were initially called to the Famsa store in the 2900 block of North Milwaukee Avenue around 8 a.m. after flames set off a motion detector, according to Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner Timothy Sambey.
Officers smelled smoke and called 911. Firefighters forced their way into the locked three-story building and saw smoke filling the first floor.
A 2-11 alarm was called for more personnel and equipment, then a 3-11 alarm was called around 8:40 a.m. after part of the roof collapsed, the department said.
Video from news helicopters showed orange flames and thick smoke rising from the building as the 3-11 was called.
By 10 a.m., firefighters were attacking the blaze from aerial ladders, trying to keep the flames from a basement filled with mattresses, Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said.
“We want to get the roof open so we can attack the fire from above so it doesn’t drop down into the basement,” Langford said.
On Milwaukee Avenue, two firetrucks, their ladders extended, hosed the roof of the store. On the street, a crew sprayed a jet of water into the storefront’s shattered windows. Inside the charred building, accordion-like security cages were still locked.
“It’s a stubborn fire,” Sambey said on the scene. “It’s a furniture store. There are many avenues for the fire to travel through this building without any fire stops.”
The fire was finally brought under control around 10:45 a.m. About 150 firefighters responded to the blaze.
Fire officials said the store was not open for business yet when the alarm was tripped and no one was inside.
The furniture store was a total loss and will be demolished, according to Chicago Building Commissioner Judy Frydland.
“It’s in imminent danger of collapse. The front facade could come down at any time,” Frydland said. “The only thing holding it up right now are the two buildings alongside it.”
Frydland said the 2900 block of Milwaukee Avenue could be closed well into Friday as the facade is torn down.
Lucero Agosto watched as firefighters pulled hoses into Los Dos Leones, a restaurant and bar next door to Famsa. She started working as a cook at the restaurant Monday and worried that damage from the fire could put her job in jeopardy.
“I heard about the fire and said, ‘This can’t be happening to me,’ ” Agosto said. “But there’s always something to do. They say that faith moves mountains. I’ve got faith.”
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