Albany Park discount store a ‘total loss’ after extra-alarm fire

A discount store was destroyed in an extra alarm fire Tuesday afternoon in Albany Park, a neighborhood that has seen other buildings gutted by fire in recent weeks.

The blaze broke out about 12:40 p.m. at the JoJo discount store at 3040 W. Lawrence Ave. and was elevated to a 3-11 alarm, sending extra crews and equipment to the scene, according to Chicago fire officials.

Customers were inside when the fire broke out but managed to escape, officials said. No injuries have been reported.


The roof collapsed and the building will be considered a "total loss," officials said. The building — which previously housed a car dealership — was operating as a mattress and discount store and will have to be torn down.

Last month, three fires broke out in as many days in the neighborhood, prompting officials to look into any connections between them.

On Feb. 23, the vacant House on the Rock Church was heavily damaged in a fire. Two days earlier, popular brewery Twisted Hippo was destroyed and an apartment building gutted in a massive fire in the 4300 block of North Richmond.

Another blaze erupted a day later in the 3300 block of West Cullom Avenue, injuring a firefighter.

The cause at Twisted Hippo is "undetermined" because investigators weren’t able to get into the burned-out structure to do a proper investigation, Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said. It was not deemed safe for them to enter.

The church fire was caused by a person, but police are still trying to determine if it was arson, Langford said, adding that kids had been seen going in and out of the building and may have been trying to stay warm.

The cause of the third fire, where the firefighter was hurt, was ruled electrical from bad wiring, Langford said.