The following is a synopsis of Chicago’s 3-11 at 36th and Homan on Monday, April 28th. The building was a Red-X which, for those who are not from Chicago, means that the building has been deemed structurally unsound and potentially too dangerous for interior operations. I live only 2 miles from this incident and left the moment it was dispatched. Traffic was almost at gridlock as people stopped in the middle of the Stevenson Expressway to gawk.
The fire building ran adjacent to the expressway and was only about 100 yards off the roadway. This building appeared to be divided into three sections, each separated by a fire wall. The main body of fire was in the center section so even though the building was a good 200+ feet long, the section that was involved wasn’t that large. Some fire did appear to get into the front section but never advanced very far. When I passed on the Stevenson, there was heavy fire blowing out all of the second story windows in that middle section. By the time I parked and found my way back to the building, the truss roof had already burned through and most of the fire and smoke had diminished.
There were two access points to this incident. One was off of 36th and Kedzie and the image of Engine 23 heading back towards the fire building gives you an idea of the lead out here. It was about 450 yards from where Engine 99 hooked up to the hydrant at that corner. The other access point was at the dead end off Homan at 37th Place. Engine 34 had hose stretched across the railroad tracks and both Engines 38 and 39 were pumping from hydrants in the neighborhood south of the fire building.
I spent most of my time on the north side along the expressway where companies operated from an interior yard. Tower Ladder 54 had their aerial up fairly early as they were positioned in front of the building. Squad 1’s Snorkel was brought into the west part of the yard and had to wait for hose to be stretched before they could go to work. Eventually 6-7-6 was brought into the yard as well and after several lengths of hose were stretched, it went to work for the first time on a Chicago structure fire.
Companies went in-line to the east of the incident with Engines 88, 99, 107, 109, 23, 123, and 65 all pumping. There was also a Level I Hazmat with this incident. Many companies worked throughout the night and did not leave the scene until daylight broke on Tuesday.