Warehouse Fire on West 21st Street Near Western Ave, Chicago

Video showing heavy fire in a warehouse almost a city block long Saturday afternoon near Western Avenue and 21st Street.

Chicago firefighters on Engine 23 responded about 1:08 p.m. to a report of a rubbish fire in the 2500 block of West Cullerton Street and requested a full still alarm after driving around to 21st Street and finding a some type of fire in the rear of the building. Battalion 4 requested a Still and Box Alarm at about 1:14 p.m. after assessing the fire. By 1:20 p.m. heavy fire was reported throughout the three-story warehouse, and Deputy District Chief 2-2-1 requested a 2-11. Firefighter operations went defensive about 1:21 p.m. The CTA Pink Line was requested to shut down at about 1:28 p.m. A 4-11 alarm fire, along with an EMS Plan 1 and a Level 1 HazMat was requested about 1:45 p.m. The building size was estimated to be 300×150 feet.

Video showing arrival of videographer and heavy fire coming from the warehouse.

The fire was difficult to fight because of the proximity of the elevated tracks of the CTA Pink Line which obstructed direct closeup exterior attack on the fire. Also steady west-northwest winds at 16-17 mph fanned the fire.

Video at about one hour into the fire, showing fireground operations and fire equipment around the scene.

A gas-fed fire continued to burn on the south side of the building. Peoples gas crews had to dig in the street to shut of the natural gas supply to the building. Com Ed also shut off power to the area. The fire was struck out at about 3:47 p.m. An outage of electric power extended into the evening for the neighborhood just to the south of the fire building. ComEd brought out a semi-trailer truck generator on Cermak Avenue, just west of Western Avenue.

Smoke from the fire was visible west of I-294, even though the weather was overcast. Smoke also lingered in the air southeast of the fire scene, near the Heart of Chicago neighborhood, Oakley Avenue and Cermak Road, Damen Avenue and Cermak Road, Hoyne Avenue and Cermak Road, and the area of the Chicago International Produce Market.

No injuries were reported. Fire investigators were on the scene, and may have been focusing on investigating an area on the northwest corner of the building.

An extra alarm fire occurred at the same warehouse on May 26, 2007. The overhaul work at the 2-11 fire was captured by fire photographer Tim Olk (see CFD 2-11 Alarm Fire 21st & Western 05/26/07). Olk also worked on photographs for the 4-11 at 21st and Western Avenue yesterday (See Chicago Fire Dept 4-11 Alarm Fire Level 1 Haz-Mat EMS Plan 1 21st & Western).