Watch CBS News

Apartment Building That Burned In Albany Park Monday Morning Had History Of Violations

CHICAGO (CBS) -- The Chicago Fire Department late Monday had not released a cause for a fire that swept through an apartment building and destroyed two popular businesses nearby in Albany Park.

So we did some digging into the history of the buildings. As CBS 2's Tara Molina reported late Monday, there is a history of violations in the apartment building.

Some of the violations are recent. City inspectors months ago just cited the apartment building at 4339 N. Richmond St. – which was still standing late Monday afternoon.

Fire Department officials believe the fire started around 3:30 a.m. in a 3-story apartment building at 4337-39 N. Richmond St., and then spread to the neighboring building at the southeast corner of Richmond Street and Montrose Avenue - which housed Twisted Hippo Taproom and Eatery, and Ultimate Ninjas gym.

The fire burned for several hours as more than firefighters worked to contain the flames. Neighbors reported hearing explosions.

Several cars were left buried under rubble after part of the roof and a large section of the rear wall of the Twisted Hippo collapsed. The building that housed the brewery and the neighboring kids' gym bore the brunt of the damage.

But with no cause determined yet, we dug into city records to see if there have been issues inside any of the buildings involved. We found no recent violations on record with the city at the commercial property, owned by Joe Bradke.

But with the apartment building next door - listed under two addresses and owned by Gary Carlson - we found violations as recently as late last year.

The city found electrical violations during an inspection in early November 2021, but the specifics are unclear. And then last month, early January 2022, the city issued a permit to correct those electrical violations.

It was not clear late Monday whether they'd been fixed.

CBS 2 was waiting late Monday for the city's Department of Buildings to address our requests for clarification this Presidents' Day – during which offices were closed. Molina brought the issues to State Rep. Jamie Andrade (D-Chicago) at the scene.

"The Building Department is doing what they need to do," Andrade said. "They are going out and inspecting all these buildings."

As for the violations they documented, and city permits, Andrade added, "If he didn't repair his building - and we'll see what the cause is - then he needs to be held responsible."

CBS 2's Molina tried to reach Carlson, the man who owns the apartment building, several times Monday. She did connect to a woman who identified herself as a member of his office, and asked about the electrical issues and whether they'd been fixed since getting permits.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.