Watch CBS News

Firefighters Battle Extra-Alarm Blaze In Humboldt Park

Updated 03/08/16 - 5:28 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Chicago firefighters were responding to an extra-alarm fire at a large flea market building in the Humboldt Park neighborhood Tuesday morning.

The fire started around 9:30 a.m. in the 4500 block of West Haddon Avenue, in a one-story building that is about two blocks long. Buyers Flea Market is listed at that location. Over the course of the morning and afternoon, the fire was raised to a 4-11 alarm, bringing at least 160 firefighters to the scene.

Heavy black smoke was seen pouring from the roof of the building.

"When we initially got here, there was a report of two people trapped in the bathroom inside. When the engine companies got in there, they found one lady in the bathroom, and she immediately ran when we got her outside. … She was in good condition," said Deputy District Fire Chief Joe Roccasalva.


Dozens of people who operate small businesses at the flea market gathered outside, wondering if anything would be salvageable after the fire. Firefighters say the building is a total loss.

About 30 vendors sell food, clothing, and even used cars at the facility.

Witnesses said they believe the fire started in an auto repair shop inside the building. While the flea market itself is open only on the weekends, the auto shop operates during the week.

A photographer who stores about $20,000 of equipment in the building said he fears it is all gone.

The fire appeared to be heaviest in the building's parking garage, and the Fire Department said several cars would be destroyed as a result of the blaze.

According to the Fire Department, several cars that were on the roof deck have fallen through as sections of the roof have collapsed, as have the north and parts of the west walls.

CBS 2's Dorothy Tucker reports while the building burned, the tears flowed from vendors who uses to sell their goods inside the once bustling buyers flea market.

"It's too hard, too hard for everybody," said vendor Alicia Romero. "I can't believe it."

For 13 years Nancy Arcadio has depended on the income from the weekend sale of clothing.

"My dad has a truck in there with merchandise," she said.

No injuries have been reported. The fire was struck out late Tuesday afternoon, nearly eight hours after it started.

The fire department says it may take several days to determine the cause of the fire.

This was the second fire in the company's 35 year history. After a 1990 fire the owners rebuilt, but this time there were rumors they may not.


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.