Recently in fire Category

Reporting via Sun-Times Media Wire:

It may not have been a large or long-lasting fire, but the black smoke that could be seen for at least a mile and a-half south Sunday afternoon certainly suggested something worse to those who saw it.

The fire, on the roof of the Old Town Social, a bar/restaurant at 455 W. North Ave., was quickly extinguished, according to Fire Media Affairs. The bar was open at the time of the fire.

Black smoke from the fire could be seen from as far south as the Merchandise Mart. Police were redirecting traffic at the scene.

Fire Media said it was a small fire and no injuries were reported.

More details to come as Sun-Times reporter Mike Lansu heads to the scene.


Lincoln Square Martha Onate was in the bar with some friends from Spain when the fire started. They were there watching a soccer game -- Barcelona vs. Rayo Vallecano -- when the alarm went off.

Onate said the fire started about 25 to 30 minutes into the game. She said Barcelona had just scored a goal and they wanted to see the second goal and they were upset they had to leave their beer and credit card inside.

They were looking forward to getting back inside to watch the rest of the game.


Old Town Social opened back up about 7 p.m. with minimal damage:

Chicago Sun-Times photographer Scott Stewart has been a life-long Blackhawks fan, growing up with Makita and Hull as names he idolized. So it was a perk of the job that on the night of Tuesday, January 22, he was at the United Center, shooting photos of the Blackhawks' home-opener against the St. Louis Blues. But he wouldn't get to stay until the final horn; before the game ended, he received a call to cover a large fire that had broken out a large South Side warehouse. Hockey would have to wait.

But rushing to the fire, too, was something that was in Stewart's blood, the result of his being a firefighter brought up in a family of firefighters. "Just like in [the movie] Backdraft," he quips. Stewart is part of the Evergreen Park Fire Department, heading up the photo unit and also serving as a fire investigator. A third-generation fireman, Stewart's son is a lieutenant in the Blue Island Fire Department, his other two children are also firefighter/EMTs, and his wife, who he met through the fire department, is the assistant photographer to the photo unit.

Watching the Chicago Fire Department battle the huge blaze - roughly one-third of the department as called in - Stewart could sympathize with what they were going through, battling extreme heat in extremely cold temperatures. "You're hampered. The weather hampers your ability to be a firefighter. The radiant heat ... it does give you a little warm feeling now and then if the wind is shifting the right way." And it's this understanding that keeps Stewart involved as part of the 5-11 Club, a sixty-year-old organization that provides additional support for the Chicago Fire and Police Departments, mainly by driving canteen vehicles to fire scenes to give exhausted firefighters refreshments like coffee and food.

The remains of the warehouse gained notoriety later in the week once the water used by firefighters froze, creating a majestic ice castle out of the ruins. But Stewart was on the scene for the Sun-Times while the fire still raged so I sat down with him to get his take on what happened. I talked to him about what it was like, as a firefighter, to photograph a fire for the publication and how he approached shooting the fire. How did he approach his shots? How is his approach different at fires than at other events? We looked through some of his photos from that night and talked all about it. Watch the audio slideshow above to hear Scott explain

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