Firefighter hurt battling 2-alarm fire at Bridgeport building
CHICAGO - A Chicago firefighter was hospitalized while responding to a two-alarm fire Monday morning at a building in Bridgeport on the South Side.
Witnesses told FOX 32 the fire started around 8 a.m. in an unoccupied church and community center in the 2900 block of South Archer Avenue.
Archer Avenue was shut down in both directions as crews were called to the scene.
The blaze was quickly upgraded to an extra-alarm fire and turned into a "fully defensive operation," as the roof began to give way and threatened houses on both sides., officials said.
At one point, firefighters concentrated seven streams of water on the fire from the street out front and above with ladder trucks.
One firefighter was transported to a local hospital to be evaluated for minor injuries, according to Chicago Fire Department officials.
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Nearby liquor store owner Jay Patel opened his store for the day at 8 a.m. Minutes later, he smelled the smoke before alerting authorities and neighbors.
Patel said he walked outside, looked through the window next door and saw flames. He was saddened to watch, having known his customers and longtime neighbors from seeing them over the years.
Firefighters battled the fire for more than two hours and had to move the observers away, to keep them from being sickened by the smoke.
The fire was struck out around 11:30 a.m., according to officials.
No other injuries have been reported.
The Chicago Fire Department is still reeling from the loss of two firefighters in back-to-back days last week. Jermaine Pelt and Lt. Jan Tchoryk were killed in the line of duty while battling two separate fires.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.