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Auto Repair Shop Gutted By Extra-Alarm Fire

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Updated 03/10/14 – 10:31 a.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) – Auto repair shop in the Irving Park neighborhood was destroyed when an extra-alarm fire sent flames shooting through the roof early Monday.

The fire started around 3 a.m. at a business in the 2900 block of West Irving Park Road, and extra crews were quickly called in, as intense flames were engulfing the building as the first crews arrived.

In all, more than 100 firefighters were called to the scene, and a hazardous materials alarm was called, after containers of petroleum -based products exploded in the blaze.

“We went immediately defensively on this fire, due to the hazards, and the type of building it was. Part of the roof was a truss roof building, so we pulled all the firefighters back there out of the collapse zone, so nobody gets injured,” said Assistant Deputy Fire Commissioner Michael Fox.

Edwin Salazar, who lives across the alley from the business that caught fire, said the flames were 40 to 50 feet high.

Jose Salazar said he could feel the heat even inside the Salazar family home.

Their house was so close to the fire, the siding started to melt. They were among nearly 20 people evacuated from their homes because of the blaze.

“It wasn’t safe. We had to get out of there as quick as possible,” Edwin Salazar said.

As the fire spread to neighboring buildings, the Salazars sought refuge in their Chevy Suburban, and watched from a distance.

“I thought, ‘Geez, I hope that’s not my house on fire,” Edwin Salazar said.

Firefighters had the blaze under control after a couple hours, and the extra alarms were struck out by 5:35 a.m., but crews remained on the scene dousing hot spots for more than an hour longer.

The blaze gutted the business, leaving only some of the outer walls standing.

One firefighter was taken to the hospital with a minor injury.

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