Firefighters Extinguish Extra-Alarm Blaze At West Town Pallet Yard

CHICAGO (CBS) — More than 100 firefighters rushed to save a home and other nearby buildings when a large fire engulfed a pallet yard in the West Town neighborhood Monday night.

The fire started just before 11 p.m. in the yard of a company that makes wooden pallets near Damen and Grand avenues. It spread quickly because of all the wood stored there.

About 100 firefighters responded to the blaze, which already was quite large when the first crews arrived, and was threatening a nearby home and two warehouses.

“We were able to make sure no fire got into two warehouses. We saved both of those; and the 2 ½-story frame that was occupied, we had a small amount of fire in the attic, which the firemen were able to extinguish quickly,” Chicago Fire Department Assistant Fire Commissioner William Vogt said.

The attic of the home caught fire, but the six people living there got out safely.

It took firefighters about an hour to extinguish the blaze.

Witnesses reported hearing small explosions during the fire.

“When you have pallet companies like this, they have propane tanks on the scene. They’re usually used for the forklifts, and that was what was exploding at the beginning,” Vogt said.

Hazardous materials crews were brought in to make sure the tanks did not burn out of control, according to Vogt.

No injuries were reported.

The Chicago Police Bomb & Arson Unit and the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives were assisting with the investigation into the cause of the blaze, because the fire occurred at a commercial building.

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