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Lake Shore Drive Bus Fire, Lincoln Park Blaze Create Double Whammy For North Side Commuters

CHICGO (CBS) -- A bus fire on Lake Shore Drive and an extra-alarm fire in a vacant school building in Lincoln Park combined to create a nightmarish morning commute for many North Siders on Tuesday.

An accordion-style CTA bus caught fire around 5:45 a.m. in the southbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive near Division Street, after pulling over for a flat tire.

No injuries were reported, but all southbound lanes of Lake Shore Drive were shut down for more than three hours, not opening again until about 9 a.m. Even some northbound were shut down while fire crews put out the bus fire, but all northbound lanes were reopen by 7 a.m.

The closures resulted in Lake Shore Drive travel times of up to two hours from Hollywood to downtown Chicago before traffic began returning to normal.

Several CTA bus routes on the inner and outer drives were diverted around the crash site for more than three hours, before resuming normal service around 9 a.m.

That wasn't the only headache for commuters on the North Side.

An extra-alarm fire that started around 2:10 a.m. in the former James Mulligan Public School Building, at 1863 N. Sheffield Av., kept firefighters busy all morning. As the building is located close to a set of elevated CTA train tracks, Brown Line and Purple Line Service was suspended for much of the morning commute.

Purple Line trains did not run south of Howard, while Brown Line service was suspended between Fullerton and the Merchandise Mart. Brown Line trains were rerouted to Red Line subway tracks between Fullerton and the Loop, and shuttle buses also were available between Fullerton and Clark/Lake.

Around 10 a.m., the CTA said crews were working to remove ice on the tracks near the Armitage stop, due to water sprayed on the fire at 1863 N. Sheffield., so Brown Line service could resume.

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