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Extra-alarm fire guts four businesses in South Loop

An extra-alarm fire early Wednesday damaged a building in the first block of East Cermak Road. | Al Podgorski / Sun-Times Media

Two firefighters suffered minor injuries while battling a fire that tore through three restaurants and a mobile phone store in the South Loop Tuesday morning and briefly halted CTA Green Line trains on a neighboring track.

The injured firefighters — one hurt his ankle, the other hurt his back — slipped on sheets of ice that formed at Cermak Road and State Street as dozens of firefighters doused the blaze in freezing weather.

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The two-alarm blaze began just before 3 a.m. and was extinguished by 7:30 a.m., said Chicago Fire Chief Joe Roccosalva.

Service on the Green Line between Roosevelt and 35th, which was suspended for several hours, was restored about 8 a.m. The fire occurred just below a new Green Line station being built at Cermak.

Bus Nos. 21 and 29 were also rerouted. The reroutes remained in effect as of 10:10 a.m.

The fire destroyed Jerk Villa (a Jamaican jerk chicken restaurant), Dragon Fire (an Asian grill and sushi restaurant), Sharks (a fish and chicken restaurant) and a cellular phone store.

All the businesses were housed in the same building, which suffered heavy damage and will most likely need to be torn down, Roccosalva said.

Contributing: Sun-Times Media Wire

Water is pumped from above into a South Loop building where an extra-alarm fire broke out early Wednesday at the corner of Cermak and State street on December 31, 2014. | Al Podgorski / Sun-Times Media

An extra-alarm fire early Wednesday damaged a building in the first block of East Cermak Road. | Al Podgorski / Sun-Times Media

Steam and smoke rises from an extra-alarm fire early Wednesday in the first block of East Cermak Road. | Al Podgorski / Sun-Times Media

An extra-alarm fire broke out overnight Wednesday at the corner of Cermak and State street. | Al Podgorski / Sun-Times Media