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Chicago warehouse fire keeps firefighters up all night

Posted on by SST

A warehouse on the south side of Chicago ignited late Sept. 11, burning through the night and preventing firefighters from entering the building.

ABC's affiliate WLS reported that a massive fire at a Brighton Park warehouse drew hundreds of Chicago firefighters throughout the night to prevent the fire from spreading to nearby buildings. No employees or firefighters reported any injuries as a result of the incident.

"We stopped the fire from advancing to the other building on the west end," said Charles Stewart, a Chicago firefighter. "We didn't go inside the building, it was an outside attack. It was a defensive attack to keep everybody safe … I saw pallets on the outside. It was a lot of fire throughout the building. Fire marching along the roof. The fire was escalated to 411. We had 400 plus firefighters and first responder personnel on the scene."

The warehouse, located on the 3700 block of S. California Avenue, housed two companies, Romar and Cantarero. Romar is a two-employee trucking company that used the warehouse space to store vehicles and equipment. Cantarero pallet company, which has 10 employees, stored wooden pallets in the warehouse that helped to fuel the fire. While the owners of the businesses will need to evaluate how they will recover, it was unclear if the south side Chicago warehouse was outfitted with a fire alarm system.

Between 11:15 p.m. on Sept. 11, when the fire was reported, and around 1 a.m., firefighters managed to contain the fire. However, due to hot spots in the debris, the blaze flared up again around 5 a.m.

A big blaze
The Chicago Tribune reported the fire escalated to a 4-11 alarm blaze due to the difficult firefighters had accessing water. They needed to conduct inline operations, where a series of trucks – each about 300 feet away from one another – collectively pump water from far away hydrants in order to feed ladder hoses and other snorkel trucks to douse the fire from above. According to Larry Langford, a spokesperson for the Chicago Fire Department, the first trucks on the scene were pumping more than 1,000 gallons a minute during some points of the night. 

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