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Fire Halts Production At Blommer Chocolate Factory

CHICAGO (STMW) -- Chocolate production was halted and more than 100 workers were evacuated from the Blommer Chocolate Company early Tuesday when a fire broke out at the West Town factory.

About 5:20 a.m., four fire engines responded to the blaze at 600 W. Kinzie St., when one of the 5-story factory's chocolate roasters caught fire, a firefighter at the scene said.

There were no injuries and it took firefighters about 30 minutes to extinguish the blaze, he said.

"The chocolate prices might go up a little bit," the firefighter, who wished to remain anonymous, joked.

One worker complained of a "big interruption" in chocolate production, and predicted the night's work would have to be redone.

"They're bringing a lot of water into the factory to extinguish the fire, that's a no-no," said Sherman Bramlett, a maintenance mechanic at Blommer Chocolate for three years. "This is going to contaminate the chocolate."

"Early this morning Blommer's Chicago plant experienced a small fire in the cocoa milling area," according to a statement from Peter Blommer, COO of the chocolate company. "The fire was quickly extinguished by the Chicago Fire Department and thankfully no one was injured."

"At this time, we have stopped all plant operations to conduct a thorough assessment of the impacted areas and begin the necessary clean up. Once our investigation into the cause of the fire is complete, we will take all necessary steps to ensure the safety of our employees and the quality of our chocolate," Blommer said.

West Kinzie Street was closed between North Desplaines and North Clinton streets for more than an hour Tuesday morning.

(Source: Sun-Times Media Wire © Chicago Sun-Times 2013. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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