CHICAGO (SUN TIMES MEDIA WIRE) - At least one West Loop building will have to be torn down after an extra-alarm fire caused extensive structural damage Thursday morning.
The three-alarm fire was first reported about 4:30 a.m. at a metal plating business in the 1200 block of West Lake Street, according to Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford.
The fire was under control shortly after 7 a.m. and was fully struck out by 8:10 a.m., Langford said. The two-story building will have to be demolished because of structural failures caused by the blaze.
An adjacent building used as a storage facility by the same company was also badly damaged, and crews are evaluating whether it will also need to be torn down, Langford said.
Because there were corrosive chemicals in the building for use in the metal plating process, there were initially concerns about a HazMat situation, but Langford said none of the chemical containers were compromised in the fire. No injuries were reported.
Langford said the cause of the fire remained under investigation, and crews were also at the scene working to remove the chemicals from the building before demolition could begin.
The fire caused extensive delays on the Chicago Transit Authority’s Green and Pink lines, which run adjacent to the building, the transit agency said. Service was suspended between the Clinton and Ashland stations for several hours during the morning commute, but trains started moving through the area again by about 9 a.m.
The blaze burst out blocks from the CTA’s Morgan station. Just before sunrise, thick plumes of smoke reduced visibility to less than 20 meters and blurred out blinking police and fire engine lights underneath the L tracks.