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Ford Heights industrial building fire blamed on steel-cutting torches

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Updated: February 10, 2013 5:54PM



Men cutting steel with acetylene torches Tuesday morning sparked three small fires in a vacant three-story industrial building in Ford Heights, a fire official said.

Ford Heights firefighters were called to the scene at 10 a.m. in the 1700 block of Cottage Grove Avenue. The fire department put out a second alarm because water tankers were needed, according to Keith Dudley, the fire department’s media officer. Since the building has been vacant for at least one year, the hydrants were not operating, he said. Seven other fire departments assisted.

“We did not want it to escalate into something larger,” Dudley said. “There was a lot of debris in the building, which made it dangerous.”

Fire officials are investigating why the men were in the building, he said. They all got out safely and no injuries were reported, Dudley said.

The fire was extinguished by noon, he said.

According to Jim Storer, of neighboring Liberty Tire Services, the building was a former power plant that was in the process of being demolished by a scrap company.



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