Story Summary

Massive warehouse fire in Cicero

The five-alarm fire broke out in the 1800 block of 54th Ave in Cicero, Tuesday evening.

The fire spread south to a nearby business and threatened a third building full of paint thinners and other hazardous chemicals.

Frozen hydrants and the bitter cold made things difficult for firefighters; water had to be pumped in, all the way from Roosevelt Rd.

No one was hurt and there’s no word yet on how the fire started.

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A teenager is charged with starting the massive fire that destroyed two buildings in Cicero last week.

The five-alarm fire began inside a vacant warehouse in the 1800 block of 54th Avenue and spread to a neighboring business.

Authorities say the teen may have started the fire to keep warm,  and then started playing with the fire, causing it to spread.

His name is not being released because he is a juvenile.

Firefighters are battling a four-alarm fire at a vacant warehouse in Cicero.

Cicero firefighters are keeping an eye out for hot spots at a warehouse after it went up in flames Tuesday evening.

The five-alarm fire broke out in the 1800 block of 54th Ave.

The fire spread south to a nearby business and threatened a third building full of paint thinners and other hazardous chemicals.

Frozen hydrants and the bitter cold made things difficult for firefighters; water had to be pumped in, all the way from Roosevelt Rd.

No one was hurt and there’s no word yet on how the fire started.

The Cicero Alternative School on 54th Ave. is closed today. It was used through the night and this morning as a warming center for firefighters and emergency response teams.

A vacant Cicero was engulfed in flames Tuesday evening in an extra-alarm fire that spread to an adjacent industrial building, according to authorities.

Cicero fire department officials said that the entire warehouse at 1829 54th Avenue in Cicero was ablaze, according to a town spokesman Ray Hanania.

The fire spread to a building just south, where a business, Central Steel Fabricators, was located, he said in an email. Firefighters were battling the 5-alarm fire with the help of the Chicago Fire Department and other area departments.

Freezing hydrants were hampering the firefighting effort, Cicero Fire Chief Ron Opalecki told WGN-TV.

“We have a lot of issues of water freezing, our mains freezing up,” Opalecki said.

As soon as water began to come out of hydrants, it started to freeze, and “the streets are a sheet of ice,” Opalecki said.

Because of the freezing conditions, the Chicago Fire Department was helping Cicero by providing equipment to pump water from Roosevelt Road, 6 blocks north of the fire, Opalecki said.

The fire also disrupted CTA Pink Line service west of Pulaski, according to the CTA.

The warehouse was located just west of the Cicero Animal Shelter, but none of the animals were in jeopardy, Hanania said.

No one was believed in the buildings affected by the fire, Opalecki said.

The cause of the blaze had not been determined, the spokesman said.

–Chicago Tribune staff report

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