January 18, 2009

Morning Fire In Vacant Howard Street Buildings

The all too frequent sound of sirens sometimes goes unnoticed – especially on a cold day. But when I looked out the window, it was too close to ignore.

Approaching Howard Street there were several fire trucks and police cars blocking traffic as the firemen extinguished a fire that appears to have started in the vacant Howard Tire Shop and spread into the adjoining vacant Little Mel’s Hot Dog joint.

GEDC0007 GEDC0011 GEDC0009

The salt truck arrived to salt down the frozen water that had spread across Howard Street after the fire had been extinguished.

GEDC0015 GEDC0017

Investigators comb through the interior of the Tire Shop. Note the red candle on the counter and the makeshift closet for the jeans.

GEDC0023 GEDC0022 GEDC0025

Here's what remains of Little Mel's interior that's apparently been used as storage.


These properties were purchased by Robert Coe for a condo development and have been sitting vacant for some time. A security guard from a nearby building told me he'd reported seeing flickering lights in the Tire Shop - probably squatters candles. A 311 report was made recently about the long-vacant Chinese Restaurant to the east being unsecured by vandals or squatters.

It seems the ony change that comes to Howard Street here is through catastrophes.


Community Meeting On These Properties


Grammar Gal said...

Great shots, Toni!

Robert Coe. Again. Another of Ald. Joe Moore's cronies.

Yes, I believe in CHANGE. A change in our leadership of the 49th Ward.

Howard was a great area, once, and can become great again.

I have asked repeatedly for Joe Moore's resignation. He has done NOTHING for Howard, Morse, or Clark Street, other than show up for a phot-op with the Mayor at the opening of the new Clark Fire Station.

Isn't it time we called Joe Moore to task?

Bosworth said...

Kudos to the Chicago Police and Fire Departments!! While walking this morning, I saw smoke and flames coming from this vacant building. Within a minute or two of calling 911, the police had the street blocked off and the fire department was on the scene dousing the flames. Chicago Streets and Sanitation were there shortly after spreading salt on the street.
We have had to look at that vacant mess for 2 years. Now we get to look at a burned out, boarded up vacant mess.
I have also called 311 about the vacant restaurant space 2 doors down from this that has been broken into. I have also called the aldermans office. Nothing has been done yet.
Does anyone know why a Chicago police officer has been sitting in his car in front of this burned out mess for 7 hours now? Could it be because they can't locate the building owner to make sure they have this mess boarded up securely?

Toni said...

Thanks for always being on the lookout Bosworth.

I called the 24th about half an hour ago and asked if the squad was stationed there because the owner hadn't been located yet.

So with a little help from a friend, the police have been provided with contact numbers. On the upside, the squad is a deterrent to some of the corner activity.

Bosworth said...

24 hours later and the vacant, now burned out building is still not boarded up and secured properly. The police are no longer posted out front.

Since school is out today, I hope some curious children don't wander into that mess and get hurt.