Basement fire sends smoke through Lake Shore Drive high-rise

Tribune reporter

A basement fire sent smoke rising to the upper floors of a North Side high-rise overnight but caused no serious injuries, authorities said.

A doorman in the 16-story building reported the fire just after 10 p.m., Chicago Fire Department commissioner Jose Santiago said. Firefighters found flames in the basement of the building and, as a precaution, requested an EMS Plan 1, sending at least five ambulances to the scene.

The fire was later elevated to a 2-11 alarm, bringing about 120 firefighters to the building on inner Lake Shore Drive just north of West Belmont Avenue, Santiago said.

Firefighters contained the fire to a basement storage area, but they had difficulty reaching its source, he said. "It's where people keep their bicycles and other belongings, and it's just a maze," he said.

Smoke from the fire rose through elevator shafts and reached the upper floors, according to the fire department. Firefighters searched each floor and stairwell but found no one who needed hospitalization.

A paramedic experiencing asthma problems was taken to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, fire department spokesman Larry Langford said. The paramedic was listed in good condition.

Fire officials said they expected residents would be displaced by the fire, and the American Red Cross dispatched two teams to the building to assess the situation and talk with residents.

Firefighters extinguished the fire shortly before 11:40 p.m., according to the Chicago Fire Department.

Twitter: @AdamSege

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