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Lakeview, Wrigleyville, Northalsted

Lakeview’s Belmont Army Vintage Will Close For At Least A Week After Fire Ruins Basement

No one was injured when the vintage clothing store, which opened in 1975, caught fire Tuesday afternoon. "We just hope people can spread the word and come back shopping once we're back open to support us," the store manager said.

Two Belmont Army Vintage employees said they saw smoke and immediately called 911.
Jake Wittich/Block Club Chicago
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LAKEVIEW — A fire tore through the basement of Belmont Army Vintage in Lakeview Tuesday afternoon, destroying all of the resale shop’s downstairs stock.

Store manager Kristen Aalbue was working with another employee when she saw fog near the stairs coming from the basement of the building, 925 W. Belmont Ave., she said.

“I tried to go down, but smoke started billowing out,” Aalbue said.

Aalbue immediately called 911 and her coworker helped usher four customers out of the store while they waited for firefighters to arrive, she said. No one was injured.

Firefighters responded about 1:40 p.m. to the store and immediately started dousing the flames, Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said.

Five firetrucks and a van responded, and the fire was put out in about an hour, Langford said.

No one was downstairs when the fire started because the basement has been blocked off for maintenance, Aalbue said. But the flames “entirely ruined” the basement.

“We lost all our downstairs stock, and there’s about five inches of standing water down there right now, which we have to remove,” Aalbue said.

Credit: Provided/Belmont Army Vintage
The entire basement stock of Belmont Army Vintage was damaged by the fire.

The fire also melted the plastic lining the store had along the basement’s ceiling, and smoke damaged clothing on the main floor, Aalbue said. A cleaning service was scheduled to stop by the store Wednesday to try and remove the smoke damage.

“Hopefully we can salvage the upstairs stock,” Aalbue said.

Belmont Army vintage has been open since 1975 and sells everything from vintage clothing to bridal pieces, antiques and costumes, according to its Instagram.

Belmont Army Vintage will remain closed for at least a week for cleanup and insurance services, Aalbue said.

“We just hope people can spread the word and come back shopping once we’re back open to support us,” Aalbue said.

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