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Fire at North Side scrap yard prompts HazMat response

A fire at an auto scrap yard prompted a HazMat response Sunday morning in the North Side Ranch Triangle neighborhood.

The blaze started about 9 a.m. at the yard near Cortland and Marcey streets, according to the Chicago Fire Department.

Heavy smoke and flames could be seen billowing from a pile of discarded vehicles.

The fire was extinguished by about 11:15 a.m., fire officials said.

While no one was hurt, Ald. Brian Hopkins (2nd) and Ald. Michele Smith (43rd) called attention to the hazards at the General Iron Industries site, recalling a July explosion at the same location

“Our office receives increasing phone calls about their operations as a nuisance and a community meeting revealed growing concern with this facility being so close to an expanding residential community,” Smith said in a statement. “The fire and explosion elevates this to an immediate question of safety.”

Officials from the Chicago Department of Public Health joined fire officials in their investigation, Hopkins said in a statement. He also expressed concerns about the water used to extinguish the fire, which he fears will drain into the north branch of the river.

“The investigation of this current incident will take time to conclude,” Hopkins said. “However, it is already apparent that the continued operation of General Iron Industries poses a health hazard to the surrounding area.”

Crews battle a Ranch Triangle scrap yard fire Sunday morning. | Chicago Fire Department
Crews battle a Ranch Triangle scrap yard fire Sunday morning. | Chicago Fire Department