CHICAGO (CBS)– An extra-alarm fire destroyed Albany Park store Tuesday afternoon, as the roof collapsed while firefighters worked to contain the flames.
The fire started shortly after noon at Jojo Discount Store, which sold mattresses and discount furniture, and firefighters remained on the scene for several hours. The store was open when the fire started, and customers were inside, and witnesses said those people came running out of the building screaming, but Fire Department officials said everyone managed to escape without any injuries.
Firefighters were able to contain the fire to the building where it started, at 3040 W. Lawrence Av., but the blaze caused the store’s truss roof to collapse around 1:15 p.m.
Thick smoke was seen pouring from the building, stretching for miles.
CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl said it was a stubborn fire, because of the highly flammable materials inside, and the truss roof that collapsed all at once.
When the roof collapsed, it sent a large wall of flame out the front of the building, narrowly missing firefighters who were across the street.
Intense flames from the blaze scorched a street sign next to the building, and caused heat damage to cars at a neighboring body shop. The fire also burned off the Jojo store sign, revealing the remnants of the sign for a used car dealership that once called the building home.
The Chicago Fire Department said the building would be a “total loss” and would have to be demolished.
While the fire was mostly contained by 2 p.m., crews remained on the scene for hours afterward to douse hot spots, and prevent the blaze from flaring up again.
Lawrence Avenue remained blocked between Kedzie Avenue and the Chicago River as of 4 p.m., as crews remained on the scene.
The cause of the fire will be investigated.
This was the fourth major fire in Albany Park in the past month, including three within a span of a three days in late February.
An extra-alarm fire destroyed the Twisted Hippo brewery and Ultimate Ninjas children’s gym at the southeast corner of Richmond Street and Montrose Avenue, and severely damaged a neighboring apartment building early on Feb. 21.
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