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NBC's 'Chicago Fire' Takes Over Entire Blocks

By Paul Biasco | November 16, 2012 11:37am

LINCOLN PARK — NBC's new drama "Chicago Fire" has filmed nearly a dozen times in the Lincoln Park area since July and will continue through April thanks to a ratings boost last week.

The filming of the show, which has taken over multiple Lincoln Park blocks for days at a time, was supposed to wind down in December, but the drama was recently picked up for a full season.

Notices of a tow zone have been posted two days in advance along streets where filming will take place, but there are usually a few cars each morning that remain on the street, according to a truck driver on the set who declined to be named.

He said tow companies work with NBC and Chicago’s 311 Non-Emergency Services Department and will drop the vehicles in areas near where they were parked, but a resident on Fullerton Avenue came out Thursday morning to go to work and couldn't find his vehicle.

"He was mad. He was upset, but what are we here? One day, tops," the crew member said.

On Thursday, crews were filming at two Lincoln Park locations. The first was inside a home on Fullerton near Orchard Street around 11 a.m. and the second was inside a home on  Larabee just north of Armitage Avenue.

Doug Smit, 40, who lives on Larabee, said he hoped filming would wrap up before his wife got home from work at 7 p.m. because he was parked in their only private spot behind their home.

“We are thinking about DVRing it one time to see if we see our house,” he said.

Security guard Quita Smith was working on the set Thursday morning and said Lincoln Park residents were lucky to have the filming signs posted two days in advance so they could move their cars.

She has also worked security for Showtime’s "Shameless," another show set in Chicago, and would see about five cars on average get towed from sets on the West Side each day the show filmed.

Two Loyola University students and "Chicago Fire" superfans who heard about Thursday’s filming on the website OnLocationVacations.com were waiting outside the actors' trailers on Larabee and swarmed lead actress Monica Raymund when she stepped outside.

“I love the show. We do this instead of doing homework,” said 18-year-old Catalina Aridas. “I thought she was going to walk away. She was so nice.”

Aridas' friend Nicole Boomgaard, 18, said it was her first time meeting a celebrity.

“Last night, (Monica) came into my room and was like, ‘Can we go? Can we go?’,” Boomgaard said. “I was definitely star struck. You see them on TV, but they are normal.”

The first scene that was filming on Fullerton earlier in the morning was inside a Lincoln Park family’s home who leased it to the crew for the day, but the female resident of the home didn’t realize the scene involved a dog. She is allergic.

The crew moved to a backup house, and everything went on without a hitch, according to workers on the set.