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Extra-Alarm Fire Guts Brighton Park Warehouse

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A four-alarm fire destroyed a warehouse in Brighton Park overnight, and firefighters had to return to the scene a second time after extinguishing the blaze, when the fire reignited.

CBS 2's Susanna Song reports the fire originally started around 11 p.m. at a warehouse in the 3700 block of South California Avenue. It eventually was raised to a 4-11 alarm, sending about 400 firefighters to the scene.

The one-story factory building contained wooden pallets, which helped the flames quickly engulf the structure.

"It was a lot of heat, a lot of fire. We did not go in the building, it was an outside attack, a defensive attack to keep everybody safe," said First Deputy Fire Cmsr. Charles Stewart III.

Firefighters needed to go out of their way to get water to the building, because there were no fire hydrants near the warehouse. Crews used an "in-line" process to get water to the building, by staggering fire engines a few hundred feet apart, connected by fire hoses, to pump water to fire trucks that sprayed water on the building from overhead.

"We went in-line to make sure we had adequate water supply we needed to have. There were no hydrants in this … shipping yard, I'm going to call it, but we got water and put water on the fire," Stewart said.
Firefighters spent more than two hours dousing the flames. The 4-11 alarm was struck out around 1:20 a.m., but firefighters stayed on the scene for more than three hours afterward, pouring water on smoldering embers to prevent the fire from flaring up again.

Crews cleared out a few minutes around 4:30 a.m., but a few dozen firefighters were called back around 5:15 a.m., when the fire rekindled.

No one inside the building at the time, and no one was injured in the blaze. The cause of the fire was unknown as of 6:30 a.m. Thursday.

Coincidentally, a firefighter at the scene said, around 4 a.m., a woman driving by the scene of the fire went into labor, and paramedics helped her give birth, before taking her to a hospital.

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