Second City Fire Injures 5 In Theater Offices

Five people were injured after a fire erupted at Chicago’s famed Second City theater company in Old Town.

According to a report by the Chicago Tribune, an extra-alarm fire destroyed the offices of the theater company, injuring four firefighters and one other person on Wednesday, August 26.

The Chicago Fire Department said the fire started at around 1:00 p.m. on Wednesday in a three-story building on the 1600 block of North Wells Street, next to the building that houses the theater complex. The fire was mostly contained by 3:30 p.m.

“Once that happens, we were trying to breach from the outside. It was all brick-covered, so we had to put as much water in there to keep the fire contained to the center portion of this structure,” Fire Department Commissioner Jose Santiago said.

Fire department spokesman Larry Langford said the fire started in the kitchen of the Adobo Grill restaurant next to the theater. It eventually spread through the vents to the roof, ultimately causing extensive damage to the Second City offices. The building was evacuated, along with the rest of the buildings in the Pipers Alley complex.

Langford said the four firefighters, and a worker, received minor injuries and were stabilized at nearby hospitals. The 130-year-old office building was completely destroyed, and Wednesday night’s performances were cancelled.

The Second City theater launched the careers of many comedians and actors, including John Belushi, Tina Fey and Bill Murray, according to WGNtv.

While the theater keeps the majority of their institutional archives — including scripts, photos and footage of past shows — in a storage facility off-site, several offices held personal memorabilia that was destroyed in the blaze.

“At one point, I was very anxious,” Second City CEO and co-owner Andrew Alexander said. “It has gutted our two levels of offices. But we’ll fix it. They advised us to close tonight, but I suspect we will be open tomorrow. The theaters are fine. The most important thing is that no one is hurt. Thank the Lord.”

Thursday night’s performances have also been cancelled.

[Photo via Twitter / Chicago Fire Media]