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Austin, Garfield Park, North Lawndale

Massive Fire Engulfs West Side Warehouse

By 10:30 a.m., the North Lawndale blaze had been elevated to a four-alarm fire.

Fire crews are battling a fire at a West Side warehouse.
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NORTH LAWNDALE — A massive fire broke out at a West Side automotive warehouse Thursday morning.

At 8:48 a.m., the Chicago Fire Department received a call that the roof of an auto body supply warehouse at 4425 W. 16th St. had gone up in flames.

By 10:30 a.m. the blaze had been elevated to a four-alarm fire.

The scope of the fire is “very significant,” said Fire Department spokesman Larry Merritt, but he said there is no risk of it spreading to the surrounding area.

Andrea Nelson saw “a colossal amount of smoke” in the morning, but she said the massive plume had dissipated significantly by 11 a.m. The smoke was visible as far away as Nelson’s workplace in the Near West Side.

The foul-smelling tower of smoke emanating from the warehouse blew to the north, covering the surrounding neighborhood, “all the way up to what seems to be up to Avondale,” Nelson said.

Nelson drove through the area with the windows of her car rolled up, but she could still smell the burning building.

“I still got a bit of a headache. You could smell it: very very intense black smoke,” she said.

Due to the hazardous materials in the warehouse, the fire requires a Level-1 Hazmat response.

One person was transported to get medical care due to a non-fire related injury, Merritt said.

Crews are “working hard to put the fire out,” but it is not immediately known how the fire started or how long it will take to extinguish, Merritt said.

A fire near 16th and Kostner on Dec. 10, 2020.
A fire near 16th and Kostner on Dec. 10, 2020.
A fire near 16th and Kostner on Dec. 10, 2020.
A fire near 16th and Kostner on Dec. 10, 2020.

This is a developing story. Check back for updates.

Pascal Sabino is a Report for America corps member covering Austin, North Lawndale and Garfield Park for Block Club Chicago.

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