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Firefighters Battle Massive Blaze In Englewood

CHICAGO (CBS) -- Firefighters have been working through the night to put out a massive fire in the Englewood neighborhood.

CBS 2's Mike Puccinelli reports extra crews were called in to battle flames that rapidly spread through a three-story building on the 6300 block of South Halsted Street.

The fire started after 10:30 p.m. in the basement of a 100-by-150 foot commercial building, with a shoe store on the ground floor, and other businesses and offices on the upper floors, all of which appeared to be vacant. The fire eventually burned through the roof.

By the time firefighters arrived, they quickly realized they were dealing with such a massive amount of fire, and called a 2-11 alarm to bring in more crews. Less than half an hour later, the fire again was upgraded to a 3-11 alarm, bringing a total of about 125 firefighters, 12 engines, 4 trucks, and 2 tower ladders, 6 battalion chiefs, two deputy district chiefs, a district chief, a deputy fire commissioner, a command van, an air mask truck, and an ambulance to the scene.

Englewood Fire
Firefighters battle an extra-alarm fire at a three-story commercial building in Englewood. (Credit: Chicago Fire Department)

Crews used ladder trucks to attack the fire from both the air and the ground and prevent the flames from spreading to neighboring buildings.

"Very large volume of fire. We put copious amounts of water on it in order to keep it from extending to the exposure buildings" said Deputy District Chief Richard Ford III.

The extra alarms were secured by about 3:30 a.m., but Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said crews were still on the scene as of 10 a.m., dousing hot spots to make sure the fire does not flare up again. Langford said firefighters likely would be at the site all day.

The building is located across the street from Kennedy-King College, and it was unclear if firefighting operations would affect the ability of students to make their way to classes Thursday morning.

The nearby CTA Green Line was shut down for a time while the fire was burning, but was running on a normal schedule for the morning rush.

No injuries were reported. The cause of the fire had not been determined as of early Thursday. Langford said it was possible the severity of the fire would prevent investigators from determining an exact cause.

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