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Fire sweeps through porches of residential building on Chicago's north lakefront

Fire breaks out in residential building on Chicago's North Side
Fire breaks out in residential building on Chicago's North Side 00:59

CHICAGO (CBS) -- A fire raged Tuesday evening on a porch structure in the back of a residential building in East Lakeview.

Orange flames and smoke were seen coming from the building at 544 W. Wellington Ave., just east of Broadway.

Ivy Klee

Quite a lot of flames were seen in the back of the building around 5:20 p.m., and a still-and-box alarm was raised by the Chicago Fire Department for extra equipment and manpower. It took about half an hour for firefighters to knock down the blaze.

Citizen app video showed firefighters staging in the alley alongside Monsignor Murphy's bar and Dua Watch & Jewelry Repair on Broadway – as the fire raged in the back of the building near the alley.

The fire appeared to be confined to the back porches, but there had been a potential for real disaster when the flames were raging.

There were no reports of injuries in the fire, and the cause and origin of the fire were under investigation Tuesday evening.

Madison Nowland and Molly Kuchinski live a block away from the scene of the fire. They were walking south on Broadway when they noticed the huge flames.

Molly Kuchinski (left) and Madison Nowland (right) live near the scene of a fire that broke out on Wellington Avenue in East Lakeview on Tuesday, Feb. 20, 2024. CBS 2

"We saw a lot of red, a lot of orange – and we smelt the flame, but expected it to be just like, you know, someone cooking outside or whatever. We came around the corner and we just see so much black smoke, and like I said, a lot of red, a lot of orange – and people like walking by like nothing happened," said Nowland. "But this is insane."

Kuchinski said she and Nowland had been walking to a nearby Walgreens a short time earlier – with no indication of anything out of the ordinary.

"And then five minutes later, we're walking back south after we went to the Walgreens, and it's just people all over, the huge flames," she said.

Nowland said she and Kuchinski walk regularly by the building where the fire broke out.

"We walk by this place. We go to Murphy's all the time. We go to Mariano's all the time. So it's really sad to see a building – especially that's on the older side of the Chicago architecture – go up like this. So I just hope they can fix the building," Nowland said. "And they got all the dogs out, we heard. So thankfully, no one got hurt."

Nowland added that everyone expressed concerns about the fire – and the safety of those who lived in the building and their pets.

"So it shows that we're still together during a time like this, but still, extremely sad," Nowland said.

The building where the fire broke out at 546-544 W. Wellington Ave., called The Georgia, is described on Zillow as a boutique residence – with red oak hardwood, tile, marble, and granite. The building was constructed in 1895, according to the real estate website.

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