Fire in USA on December 04 2015 07:35 PM (UTC).
A massive extra-alarm fire ripped through a vacant building in Arlington Heights that once housed a plastics manufacturing company Thursday afternoon and left it "a total loss," officials said. Deputy Chief Pete Ahlman said the Fire Department responded to a 911 call at 6 a.m. and discovered that the sprawling, one-story brick building at Arthur Avenue and Davis Street, just south of the Metra Union Pacific/Northwest Line railroad tracks, was engulfed in flames. There were no injuries reported. Ahlman said officials believe the building was empty when the fire broke out. "When we arrived, we had fire showing through the roof, and one minute later, the roof collapsed," Ahlman said. The building was last occupied by Tower Plastics, which moved operations to Burr Ridge in early 2011, said Carol Jones, an administrator at the plastics manufacturing company. Village officials said the building was for sale. About 100 firefighters from Arlington Heights and several neighboring northwest suburban towns fought the blaze, which Ahlman said was one of the biggest commercial building fires in the village's recent history, with 40-foot flames shooting through the roof. "All the (firefighters) did a great job, and went back on all their training, and knew just what to do," Ahlman said. Ahlman said firefighters had the blaze under control by noon Thursday, using a backhoe to demolish some portions of the building that were partially collapsed in hopes of providing better access to the structure's interior. A cost estimate of the fire damage was not yet available, but Ahlman said "the building is a total loss." "Three-quarters of the walls are still standing, but it will all have to come down," he said. Arlington Heights Mayor Thomas Hayes said that after he was alerted to the fire at 7 a.m. Thursday, he immediately headed to the scene, where firefighters had already determined the building could not be salvaged. "It was a very fortunate circumstance, with the building being vacant, the time the fire broke out and the fact that our firefighters made the very wise decision to fight the fire defensively, instead of trying to save the building," Hayes said. "We are also very fortunate that the previous owner of the plastic manufacturing company there did not seem to leave any liquids and chemicals behind that could have exploded or created dangerous fumes during a fire," Hayes added. An investigation into the fire's cause was underway Thursday, Ahlman said.