I was able to take in the big job last Tuesday in Chicago, a 4-11 (actually with all the extra units well over a 5-11 response) at Haddon & Kilbourn. It was a massive structure containing thousands of square feet of flea market type booths, many sealed off with cyclone fencing. There were no real windows, and to make matters worse the entire roof consisted of a concrete parking surface. The area is very industrial and the building backs up to an elevated railroad embankment.
Arriving units reported heavy smoke conditions and could barely see to maneuver the apparatus down the street, and heavy fire was in an area set back from the street, under the parking deck. I arrived about 35 minutes in and observed heavy fire and smoke venting from the inaccessible center portion of the complex. Cars were falling into the fire as the concrete roof deck collapsed. The fire traveled into a massive portion of the building to the north and caused heavy and dangerous smoke conditions, making Division Street impassable. A truck company attempted entry into this section using a searchline and TIC but made little headway due obstructions. Several inline operations were conducted, including two engines driving up on the railroad right of way. The hose wagon performed two massive hose lays along Division Street, one east and one west of the fire building. The new Turret Wagon 6-7-3 was also put to use.The smoke conditions downwind were punishing to the engineers manning their engines as well as members in the tower buckets. The incident lasted many hours and units were on the scene all night long. The scale of the building was so large at least one additional RIT was in place.
Took in a job at 5336 W. Leland Avenue in Chicago, a normally quiet and very congested neighborhood Monday (3/7/16). Radio reports indicated a basement fire extending to all floors in a frame dwelling. Engine 94 was very creative in finding a good spot for access in the rear. From the alley they stretched 4-inch supply line onto the next block. This operation, at least from my perspective, was very effective. Got some nice shots of roof operations as fire was venting through the the back portion of the building. This was contained with handlines in short order.