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Four hurt in blaze at west suburban bakery’s garage

(OAK PARK) Four people were injured in an extra-alarm fire Tuesday afternoon in the garage of a commercial building near the border of west suburban Oak Park and Berwyn.

The three-alarm fire began inside the Turano Bakery’s truck fleet maintenance garage in the 6500 block of Roosevelt Road in Oak Park about 2:15 p.m., according to David Powers, communications director for the village.

Three people, believed to be working inside the garage at the time, were taken to Rush Oak Park Hospital with “relatively minor injuries,” Powers said.

The fire appears to have started with workmen inside the facility who were trying to change a propane tank.

Turano employees were changing a tank in one of the bread company’s propane-powered trucks, Oak Park Fire Department Battalion Chief Kevin Wiley told Pioneer Press. The workers thought the tank was empty, but it was actually full, he said.

When the workers removed the tank, fuel shot out and hit a heating unit in the garage, which ignited and exploded, Wiley said.

The bakery has since resumed operation, according to a statement from Turano, which said the cause of the blaze is under investigation.

One person was taken to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood and three were taken to Rush Oak Park Hospital, Wiley said. He did not know their ages, genders or conditions as of 4 p.m., though police said all the injuries were minor.

The Turano garage itself was badly damaged, Wiley said.

“The building is in pretty bad shape,” he said. “It was pretty much blown apart by the initial explosion.”

A home in the 1100 block of South Scoville Avenue, next to the garage, was also badly damaged, particularly its windows, he said.

The bakery itself is across the street, on the Berwyn side of Roosevelt, and was not affected, Powers said. Earlier reports that a restaurant next door was on fire were also unfounded.

“The safety of our employees and neighbors is of the utmost importance to us, and after a brief interruption in production as a precautionary measure, we have continued operation,” the Turano statement said.

Streets in the area were closed off from Fillmore Street on the north to Roosevelt Road on the south, and from Ridgeland Avenue on the east to East Avenue on the west. Closures were expected to remain in place through the evening rush.

Commonwealth Edison also cut power to about 1,900 homes in the area at the request of the fire department, a statement from the village said.

Isaiah Kibir, 16, who lives directly north of the garage on Gunderson Avenue with his family, said he heard an explosion and then saw the entire back side of the garage collapse.

“I heard a loud boom, and when I came out the whole back of the wall was gone,” Kibir said.

The fire was not at the main Turano Bakery facility, which is on the south side of Roosevelt in Berwyn. That building was evacuated, but not damaged, Wiley said.

Major fire reported at Turano Bakery parking lot in Oak Park [Forest Leaves]