Chicago's largest fire in years destroys Bridgeport warehouse
Source: Chicago Tribune
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 fašades on the outside. They've been up for a long time. When they start burning like this, they start coming down," Santiago said.
The commissioner said the freezing cold made the firefighters' job tougher. "We run into a lot of problems, like the ice weight on the building and ladders," Santiago said. "We had the Water Department to come out and steam off our ladders."
Heat from the fire could be felt several blocks away as flames climbed into the sky and ash rained down on cars.
"You could see the embers from the highway," said Darcy Benedict, a 28-year-old UIC medical school student. "I could see blue flames rising up."