Church building damaged in extra-alarm blaze in Albany Park, third fire in the neighborhood this week

No injuries were reported as fire crews searched the site.

SHARE Church building damaged in extra-alarm blaze in Albany Park, third fire in the neighborhood this week

A fire broke out at a church in Albany Park Feb. 23, 2022.

Chicago Fire Department

Investigators with the Chicago Fire Department are looking into any possible connection between three fires in as many days in the Albany Park neighborhood.

The latest fire broke out 1:30 p.m. Wednesday at the vacant House on the Rock Church in the 4500 block of North Spaulding Avenue, fire officials said.

The fire was elevated to a 2-11 alarm but was extinguished by 2:15 p.m., officials said. No injuries were reported.

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The church was heavily damaged but remained structurally sound, Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said. He said the building had been “unused for some time” but that neighbors reported seeing children entering and exiting the building recently. The fire appeared to start in the basement and spread to the first floor, Langford said.

The building’s owner, Chicago Milal Church, applied for a demolition permit in June of 2019 and February of 2021 “but did not follow through on obtaining an actual permit under those applications,” a spokesperson for the Chicago Department of Buildings said.

The owner applied again for a demolition permit in October and the department conducted a pre-demolition inspection in November.

Two other fires have occurred blocks away within the last week.

On Monday, popular brewery Twisted Hippo was destroyed and an apartment building was gutted in a massive fire in the 4300 block of North Richmond. Another fire broke out Tuesday in the 3300 block of West Cullom Avenue, injuring a firefighter.

Langford said it was too early to say if the fires were connected. He said the department’s Office of Fire Investigations will be looking into any possible connection.

Unsafe conditions at the fire on Richmond have kept investigators from examining the site, Langford said Tuesday.

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