Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Propane tanks used for the forklifts at Bolita Pallet Repair fueled the fire and explosions in Chicago's West Town neighborhood

Was Massive West Town Fire Arson? Investigators Probing Scene Now

By Alisa Hauser | September 20, 2016 8:44am | Updated September 20, 2016 10:21am
Charred pallets at Bonita Pallet Repair.
DNAinfo/Alisa Hauser

WEST TOWN — Firefighters worked through the night battling a huge blaze at a West Town pallet warehouse that lit up the sky, officials said Tuesday morning.

The fire started around 11 p.m. Monday at Bolita Pallet Repair, 2013 W. Ferdinand St., just west of the Damen and Grand avenues, according to Chicago Fire Department officials.

Fire officials on the scene said the cause of the blaze was unknown, though a son of the owner of the business said it could have been arson. Officials said they were still investigating what may have sparked the inferno.

By Tuesday morning, the fire appeared to have been extinguished, though smoke still was coming from charred piles of wooden pallets as onlookers watched from an alley blocked off by police.

Bolita Pallet Repair owner Ruben Rodriguez and his son Kevin Rodriguez were on the scene around 7:40 a.m. Tuesday and surveying the damage.

Kevin Rodriguez said that no workers were in the building at the time of the fire and he does not know how it started, though he said he wouldn't rule out arson.

The warehouse shuts off all its electricity at night, Kevin Rodriguez said, so he doesn't believe the could have been started electrically.

Their entire inventory was destroyed in the fire, Rodriguez said, and five employees will be out of work, at least temporarily.

Ukrainian Village Neighborhood Watch

Les Hagen, who has a business across the street, said he got a call from the Fire Department early Tuesday and arrived at his business to see that boxes of scrap wood were on fire.

Hagen said the blaze spread and damaged to his company, which also stores pallets, at 2029 W. Hubbard St.

"We're always worried about fire. We've been in business since 1978 and never had a fire," Hagen said.

Arely Bencini, a waitress at Tommy's Grill, 456 N. Damen Ave., said that she knows several of the workers from the Bolita Pallet, who come to the restaurant for coffee and breakfast.

"I'm sad that it happened to them. There [are] a lot of people without jobs now," Bencini said.


By Jessica D'Onofrio
Updated 9 mins ago

SEPTEMBER 19, 2016
CHICAGO, IL (WLS) -- An extra-alarm fire at a pallet company in Chicago's West Town neighborhood spread to a nearby home late Monday night.

When firefighters arrived at the factory, which builds, sells and repairs wooden pallets, near North Damen and West Grand avenues around 11 p.m., huge flames engulfed the yard. Fire officials also said there were several explosions.

The flames spread to the attic of a two-story house next door before crews were able to extinguish the fire about an hour later. Felipe Munoz, who has lived in the home for the last 18 years with his family, said he lost everything.

"Everything is damaged. In the basement, the water comes about 2 ft. high. I never see this. I feel so bad, my wife, my daughter. Everybody feeling not good," Munoz said.

He said when his daughter got home from the Chicago Bears game, she said the fire was burning next door. They got out as fast as they could.

No one was hurt. The flames did not spread to either of the warehouses on the property.

Firefighters said propane tanks used for the fork lifts at the factory fueled the explosions. Investigators are looking into how the fire started.


Here is some information from adjacent businesses.  That area of Chicago appears to be a fire hazard with all that recycled wood piled up.  This was a disaster in the making.


 Malvaes Solutions Pallet Recycling and more

Pallet Drop Off Site:

2101 W Grand Ave, Chicago IL 60612
A strategically located pallet reclamation yard that’s located a mere 5 minutes from Chicago’s famous Circle interchange (90/94, 55, 290,LSD access). For all those looking to sell their used, broken, or unwanted pallets. here we buy any amount of all sizes of wooden pallets and we pay top dollar!!

About the Company

Malvaes Solutions is a company dedicated to cutting your business costs. We do so by managing your recyclable waste including pallets, corrugated paper, and scrap metals that may result from your day-to-day operations.

At Malvaes Solutions, we strive to provide Chicagoland businesses with a cost effective, efficient, and reliable recycling solution tailored to the unique necessities of each and every one of our clients.

"Your pallet and recyclable materials solution"