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Fire rekindles at Bridgeport warehouse

Published: Thursday, Jan. 24, 2013 9:29 a.m. CST

(MCT) — Flames have rekindled this morning at a Bridgeport warehouse that was gutted by a massive extra-alarm fire earlier this week.

Fire officials had expected the fire to start up again because of the magnitude of the 5-11 alarm blaze and the old timber in the warehouse, according to Chicago Fire Department spokeswoman Meg Ahlheim.

"We expected it. We have companies working there again," she said. "We were working there well into yesterday." 

A still-and-box alarm, standard for working fires, was called this morning and a rapid intervention team was on the scene in case any firefighters are hurt.

“No one’s going in,” Ahlheim said. “We do have (a team) at every working fire.”

Firefighters had expected the fire to rekindle, especially in areas where the roof and floors had collapsed, Ahlheim said.  “There are hot spots under those collapses we haven’t been able to reach. When debris gets moved, there’s more oxygen for the fire to grow,” she said. “Then we get to those hot spots.”

“This is something we had expected and had seen before,” she said.

The fire originally broke out at the former Harris Marcus Group building at 3757 S. Ashland Ave. Tuesday evening. Extra alarms were quickly called as the fire spread throughout the warehouse and the roof collapsed and the more than 200 firefighters contended with frozen hydrants and icy ladders.

Chicago Fire Cmsr. Jose Santiago said the fire was Chicago's largest in seven years. "This was a very large fire, unbelievable fire load, a lot of wood, timber, old stuff, varnish," Santiago said on the scene. "Once it caught, it caught and ran.

"Everything is wood inside these buildings, beautiful façades on the outside. They've been up for a long time. When they start burning like this, they start coming down," Santiago said.

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