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Firefighters Respond To Extra-Alarm Fire, Hazmat In Lawndale

CHICAGO (CBS) -- More than 250 firefighters battled an extra-alarm blaze Thursday morning at an auto supply warehouse in Lawndale.

The fire started around 8:45 a.m. at an auto supply business at 4425 W. 16th St., according to Chicago Fire Department assistant deputy fire commissioner Barry Garr.

The first crews to arrive started an interior attack, but were pushed back by heavy flames, Garr said. The firefighters immediately pulled out of the building, and called in a still-and-box alarm to bring in extra equipment. At 9 a.m., they initiated a 2-11 alarm to bring in even more resources to surround the building.

By around 9:25 a.m., it was elevated to a 3-11 alarm, and an hour later was upgraded to a 4-11 alarm, bringing a total of more than 250 firefighters as well as 90 trucks and engines to the scene. Firefighters also initiated a hazardous materials response due to the industrial chemicals stored inside the building.

Garr said crews also were concerned about the fire spreading to neighboring buildings.

"We were fighting mother nature and the high winds as well," Garr said.

Several parts of the warehouse collapsed as thick black smoke poured into the air, visible from miles away.

Everyone who works in the building got out safe by the time firefighters arrived. Garr said one woman who works in the building was taken to the hospital in good condition, after suffering anxiety problems.

"A little bit of heightened anxiety and stuff like that. Nothing life-threatening, and not fire-related. More or less just due to the fact that her business was up in flames. It could be a little disheartening for anyone," he said

No fire injuries were reported.

Garr said the fire was largely under control by about 11:30 a.m.

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