(Source) Firefighters were still on the scene of a smoldering warehouse in Bridgeport this morning, pouring water on hot spots after a 5-11 alarm fire raced through the five-story building as a third of the department’s on-duty personnel fought it. The blaze was spotted by a fire chief passing by the former Harris Marcus Group building at 3757 S. Ashland Ave. shortly after 9 p.m. Extra alarms were quickly called as the fire spread throughout the warehouse and the roof collapsed and the more than 200 firefighters contended with frozen hydrants and icy ladders. The fire was finally brought under control around 12:30 a.m.

Chicago Fire Cmsr. Jose Santiago said the fire was Chicago’s largest in seven years. “This was a very large fire, unbelievable fire load, a lot of wood, timber, old stuff, varnish,” Santiago said on the scene. “Once it caught, it caught and ran. “Everything is wood inside these buildings, beautiful façades on the outside. They’ve been up for a long time. When they start burning like this, they start coming down,” Santiago said. The commissioner said the freezing cold made the firefighters’ job tougher. “We run into a lot of problems, like the ice weight on the building and ladders,” Santiago said. “We had the Water Department to come out and steam off our ladders.” Heat from the fire could be felt several blocks away as flames climbed into the sky and ash rained down on cars.

 

Well this makes me feel like an incredible pussy. Yesterday I was complaining that I had to take my dog out for a 2 minute walk and that my car took 5 minutes to warm up. Straight up reality check after seeing these pictures. Puts all the trivial bullshit we deal with when it gets cold into proper perspective. You may be uncomfortable but you’re not 3 stories high on a ladder dealing with fire, ice, frozen gloves, and howling winds. Balls of steel on the entire Chicago Fire Department. The things those guys go through. Fucking A.