CHICAGO (CBS) — Two firefighters were injured while battling a huge blaze at a tire and pallet yard in the Little Village neighborhood.
Chicago Fire Department Deputy Commissioner Michael Callahan said the fire started at a family-owned pallet and tire business near 25th and Rockwell around 3:15 a.m.
“The fire extended to a muffler shop, due to the fire load. The bulk of that building was saved. The pallet company will be a complete loss,” he said.
By 4:45 a.m., officials had elevated the fire to a 5-11 alarm and a Level 1 Hazardous Materials response, due to air quality concerns because of the dangerous materials that were burning. In all, more than 200 firefighters responded to the scene.
A third building also might have been damaged in the blaze.
Two firefighters were hurt while putting out the blaze. One went to the hospital with a shoulder injury, and another suffered from shortness of breath, but both were expected to be okay, Callahan said.
Callahan said there was a significant amount of fire when crews first arrived on the scene, and because of the extremely flammable materials that were burning, it was difficult to battle the flames.
A viaduct just east of the scene also made it difficult to get an adequate water supply to put out the blaze.
“So we had to go to an in-line operation, meaning we had to stack multiple fire engines to send water to each other, so that we could get water down to the fire scene,” Callahan said.
Crews got the fire under control by about 5:45 a.m., but firefighters were expected to remain on the scene for quite a while to continue dousing hotspots and prevent the blaze from reigniting.
Chicago Animal Care and Control workers also were called out Friday morning, to help with loose dogs at the scene.
Speaking to CBS 2 with the help of a translator, the pallet company owner revealed he is uninsured.
Lamortto Wofford, a customer at the neighboring muffler shop said he’s worried about how the owner of that business will recover.
“I don’t know how he’s going to make it either. You know, he’s a good guy, a good mechanic. I don’t know. It’s rough,” Wofford said.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.