Cleanup Begins After Skrine Chops Burns
Overnight blaze damages Forest Park restaurant.
Update, 3:23 p.m. Crews from seven other towns, including Oak Park and River Forest, joined Forest Park in fighting the blaze, which took about four hours to strike, Forest Park Chief Steve Glinke said. A cause could be determined by next week, Glinke said.
Update, 11:07 a.m. Madison Street is open in both directions.
Update, 10:27 a.m. Forest Park Chief Steve Glinke said no injuries have been reported. The cause of the fire remains under investigation, but Glinke said three witnesses reported seeing overnight lightning strikes.
Data from the National Weather Service seems to back that up. Meteorologist Richard Castro said "one little storm cell" over the Forest Park area produced four lightning strikes between 3 a.m. and 3:05 a.m. and another strike between 3:05 and 3:10 a.m.
Glinke said investigators believe the fire started in the southeast corner of the building.
Update, 10:07 a.m. Westbound traffic lanes on Madison Street have reopened; eastbound lanes from Circle to Harlem remain closed.
On-scene fire officials with the Forest Park Fire Department wouldn't answer many questions, but employees at the Starbucks, located right across the street from the restaurant at 7230 Madison St., said the fire was burning brightly when they arrived at 4:30 a.m. Friday. The blaze was extinguished around 8:30 a.m., they said.
Dan Kelly, 46, said he was up late reading at his residence in the 300 block of Elgin Avenue when he heard a loud noise, "like a lightning strike, then I smelled smoke.
"You could see the fire burning in back but the smoke was coming out the front window," Kelly said. "The fire was dancing on the back porch, just like in the movies."
The back portion of the building, including a staircase and second-floor back deck area, appears to have suffered heavy damage.
The building that houses next-door Duckfat appears unharmed, as does an antique store situated just west of the restaurant.
Traffic lanes in both directions remains closed on Madison Street from Harlem Avenue to Circle Avenue as fire crews continue their cleanup effort.
Please return to Oak Park-River Forest Patch for updates as they become available.
We're looking for witnesses to the fire or anyone who may have photographed the burning building. Please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Thank you.