Extra-alarm fire rages in Illinois Medical District parking garage

CHICAGO (CBS) — An extra-alarm fire was raging Tuesday afternoon at a parking garage in the Illinois Medical District on the city’s Near West Side.

The fire broke out in a truss-roof parking garage for a townhome complex at 711 S. Ashland Ave., between Flournoy and Polk streets. The blaze sent a huge plume of smoke into the air.

A 2-11 alarm was raised for extra equipment and manpower.

Fire Department video showed deep orange flames shooting out of the single-story brick building as plumes of smoke rose.

The alarm was struck out and the fire was under control by 4:37 p.m. The Fire Department said multiple cars were damaged.

The Garibaldi Square on the Park townhouse complex is next to the garage, and residents park their cars there. Some residents of the complex told CBS 2’s Jermont Terry about 40 cars are parked in the garage in any given day. 

Since it was the middle of the day when the fire broke out, they estimated about 20 cars were likely in the garage at the time.  

One woman said she came outside to a popping sound, and then saw the garage on fire. Her car is likely among those damaged.

The scene is steps from the campus of Rush University Medical Center. A Citizen app report indicated that staff could smell the smoke from a hospital building.

The University of Illinois at Chicago Medical Center is also nearby, as are numerous residences. The Garibaldi Square townhouse development and the St. Basil Greek Orthodox Church are located just to the south on Ashland Avenue.

The fire was also visible from the Eisenhower Expressway just to the north.

Ashland Avenue was blocked off south of Harrison Street, as firefighters poured water on the fire from positions in the air and on the ground.  

A traffic jam formed outside Rush University Medical Center as the Fire Department worked to get the blaze under control Tuesday afternoon.

No injuries were reported.

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