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Extra-Alarm Blaze Destroys Mexican Candy Wholesaler

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San Jose Imports Fire

A fire broke out Wednesday morning at San Jose Imports, a Mexican candy wholesaler at 3760 W. 38th St. (Credit: Chicago Fire Department)

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UPDATED 12/21/11 2:50 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — A firefighter was injured when an extra-alarm fire destroyed the headquarters of a wholesale Mexican candy supplier on Wednesday in the Brighton Park neighborhood near the Stevenson Expressway.

The Fire Department raised a still-and-box alarm for the fire at San Jose Imports, 3760 W. 38th St., when it broke out around 9:30 a.m. Soon, the alarm had been upgraded all the way to a 3-11.

CBS 2’s Dana Kozlov reports that, a few blocks away from the scene, one could taste the smoke in the air. The raging flames were so dramatic that they even slowed down traffic on the Stevenson at one point.

LISTEN: WBBM Newsradio’s John Cody reports


A Level 1 Hazardous Materials response was also later called due to tanks inside the building that initially appeared to be propane tanks. But Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said firefighters later determined the tanks were helium tanks for filling balloons and did not pose any danger.

“Better safe than sorry,” Langford said.

When firefighters arrived, they had problems tapping into city fire hydrants, and had to use private ones.

One firefighter suffered minor injuries while battling the blaze, Langford said. A civilian was also reportedly injured, and was treated and released from an area hospital.

By 11 a.m., dozens of firefighters were still on the scene. The flames were out, and the billowing black smoke had been reduced to wispy plumes of white smoke.

The one-story, 25- by 150-foot building was totally consumed by fire and was destroyed in the blaze.

San Jose Imports is a wholesale distributor of imported Mexican candy, piñatas and party favors.

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