Three very specific types of fires give even experienced firefighters bad dreams.
They are fires at: lumber yards, tire yards and mattress factories.
So firefighters had their work cut out for them Monday night when a large two-story brick building that houses Mattress Exchange, a mattress company full of inventory, caught fire near East 40th Street and South Emerald Avenue in Chicago’s Canaryville neighborhood.
“Firefighters think ‘I hope we don’t get one of those tonight,'” Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said Tuesday.
“They’re not necessarily any more dangerous to put out, they’re just stubborn because you pretty much have to drown them,” he said.
“It’s hard for water to get to the source of the fire because the mattresses are so dense. Unless you literally put them in a lake and submerge them, it’s hard to put them out.”
Thankfully, the building had an effective sprinkler system that firefighters were able to pump water through, which saved considerable effort, Langford said.
Still, the fire department’s response was elevated several times throughout the night.
Crews were battling the fire — which began around 8:30 p.m. — from the outside of the building and had it outby 10:49 p.m.
Four employees of the mattress company were able to get out of the building on their own. No injuries were reported and it’s unclear what caused the fire, Langford said.
Langford said the mattresses were “stacked very high” inside the brick building.
The building also apparently housed a company that makes products out of lambskin.