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Family Escapes As Fire Rages In Auto Shop Next Door

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Firefighrers battle an extra-alarm blaze at an auto body shop at 5614 W. Grand Av. on Sept. 11, 2011. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Fire Department Media Affairs)

Firefighrers battle an extra-alarm blaze at an auto body shop at 5614 W. Grand Av. on Sept. 11, 2011. (Photo courtesy of Chicago Fire Department Media Affairs)

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UPDATED 09/12/11 6:04 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – A fire gutted an auto shop on the city’s West Side Sunday, leaving a firefighter hurt and nearly taking down the longtime home of a family next door.

As WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports, the family is thanking an observant police officer.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s Michele Fiore reports

Firefighters were battling the blaze at Danny’s Auto Glass, 5614 W. Grand Ave., from at least 6:20 am. Sunday. A 2-11 alarm and a Level 1 Hazmat response were called for the fire.

Since the fire was already through the truss roof, firefighters had to fight the blaze from outside the building, Fire Media Affairs Chief Joe Roccasalva said.

For Patty Mantis, 74, it was an awful wakeup call.

“It was scary,” she said.

She found flames shooting well above the single-story, truss-roof structure.

Mantis got out safely. Her husband, in a wheelchair, was carried down the concrete steps.

Hours later when it seemed the fire was finally out, Patty’s son, Kostas Mantis, says it wasn’t.

“The police officer noticed that there were still embers in our building – our kitchen window,” he said, “so they called the Fire Department back, and they came back and tore out our kitchen window.”

A firefighter also suffered minor injuries while fighting the fire, Roccasalva said. The firefighter was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center for treatment.

A 3-story apartment buidling just to the north of the body shop was evacuated “as a precaution,” Roccasalva said. Firefighters were able to the keep the fire from spreading to any neighboring structures.

The fire was struck out at 7:25 a.m. Sunday.

The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.

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