Fire Destroys Chicago Warehouse

Black smoke was visible for miles.


CHICAGO --

A 411 alarm was called to a wholesale warehouse fire and Level 1 Hazmat Saturday evening that can reportedly be seen for miles around in the northwest side's Albany Park neighborhood.

Firefighters and police responded to a fire at 4150 N. Knox Ave. that broke out about 5:15 p.m, according to Albany Park District Police Sgt. Kenneth Pang.

The fire was upgraded to a 411 and the wholesale warehouse is completely and fully involved, according to Fire Media Affairs Assistant Director Eve Rodriguez.

The Level 1 Hazmat was called to the warehouse, which is Chicago Imports Inc., because "there might have been a sound of an explosion at some point," Rodriguez said.

"They don't know what is inside the factory yet, so right now it's a precaution," Rodriguez said.

As of 6:20 p.m. 135 fire personnel are on the scene "working 14 master streams of water on the fire," Rodriguez said. There are also 45 pieces of apparatus on the scene.

Huge clouds of black smoke can be seen as far away as the Eden's Expressway past the Montrose Avenue exit, according to a witness.

The witness also said people are gathering on the CTA's Irving Blue Line stop to watch the smoke and fire

At radius of at least 500 meters was blocked off to traffic by police, Pang said.

There are no reported injuries from the scene as of 6:20 p.m., Rodriguez said.

The 211 alarm was called at 5:29 p.m before the Hazmat was called five minutes later, according to Rodriguez. At 5:44 a 3-11 was called and it was upgraded to a 411 alarm at 6:06 p.m

Copyright 2006, Chicago Sun-Times Inc.