Fire destroys popular Hegewisch hang out
June 14, 2006 (Last Updated: 11:45:47 AM) (WLS) -- Fire tore through a favorite Hegewisch hang out, destroying three attached buildings early Wednesday morning. A fire dog reportedly smelled something that leads officials to believe the blaze may have been intentionally set.
However, it is possible the dog came up with a false positive, said officials. The evidence has been sent to a lab where it will be checked out.
No one was injured in the blaze, which broke out just after 5:30 a.m. at 133rd Street and Baltimore. The building, which was built in 1880, housed a restaurant, Cousins Restaurant, and several apartments.
"Well, I think it's tragic. It's a landmark building, and a piece of history is gone," said Pat Watkins, Hegewisch Resident "Used to be a bank in the middle section there, and I was told before that it was a dance hall years ago."
"It's a neighborhood hangout. You come to Hegewisch, you go to Cousins Restaurant," said Debbie Zivat, Hegewisch Resident.
"Well, heartbreaking, because I had a lot of memories," said Art Jasek, Hegewisch resident.
Because of the size of the fire, it was escalated to a three-alarm and additional crews were called in to help fight the flames. It took crews nearly two hours to get control of the fire. Flames spread next door to two smaller buildings.
"I was made aware of a report that some newspaper delivery personnel early in the came, thought they smelled something, but they never did see anything, so it was never reported," said Dep. Cmsr. Gene Ryan, Chicago Fire Department.
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