Firefighters spent most of the day Thursday putting out hot spots at a smoldering Des Plaines scrap metal recycling facility largely destroyed by a massive overnight fire.
Crews were called at 11:07 p.m. Wednesday to Maine Scrap Metal at 1274 Rand Road after the owner smelled smoke and phoned 911.
Flames blew through the roof and spread rapidly after the fire began in the back corner of the 18,000-square-foot facility, Des Plaines Fire Chief Alan Wax said.
Shortly after arriving, the Des Plaines Fire Department called for a box alarm -- bringing in assistance from a number of area fire departments. At one point, four ladder trucks were extending hose lines from above to douse the flames.
By 2:15 a.m., the fire was under control, Wax said.
The cause of the fire is still unknown and under investigation. No injuries were reported.
While the rear 10,000-square-foot warehouse is a total loss, firefighters were able to save an attached 2-story front office building.
"Our guys did a phenomenal job of keeping it to this end," Wax said on scene Thursday morning.
Some limousines from neighboring M & M Limousine Services were damaged by heat, water and possibly smoke, but all were drivable, he said.
A ladder truck remained at the scene late Thursday morning, joined by another hose line on the ground, as a backhoe worked to rip apart the collapsed roof in search of hot spots. Using the machine to break up wreckage isn't uncommon "with a fire this expansive," Wax said.
The scrap metal processing and recycling center has served the commercial, industrial and residential community for more than 50 years, according to its website.
Northwest-bound Rand Road was closed between River and Golf roads while firefighters remained on scene for much of the day.
While crews were busy battling the massive blaze, another fire broke out on the south side of Des Plaines at 3:20 a.m. Other suburban departments that were staffing Des Plaines' fire stations responded to the townhouse building on the 2100 block of Chestnut Street, along with off-duty Des Plaines firefighters who were called in.
One person escaped with minor injuries and refused treatment at the scene, Wax said.
The fire started in a first-floor kitchen and left the residential unit uninhabitable because of smoke and heat damage, but neighboring units were left undamaged, he added.