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'Chicago Fire' Fake Disaster Brings Hollywood to Logan Square

By Darryl Holliday | September 17, 2013 2:54pm
  One neighbor ditched work to see her favorite "Chicago Fire" stars work on a phony tree-falling accident.
Fake Disaster Brings Hollywood to the West Side
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LOGAN SQUARE— Some neighbors appeared confused upon finding a 30-foot tree lodged in a home on Cortland Street, but others knew what to expect: another realistic catastrophe from the producers of "Chicago Fire."

Construction on the set began last week when crews built what appeared to be a three-story addition on the side of an existing home in the 3400 block of West Cortland Avenue. The set was completed Monday night when a large tree was placed beside the home — giving the appearance that it had uprooted and fallen into the third floor of the addition.

"I took the day off from work to watch this," said a Humboldt Park resident of 30 years, who gave only her nickname, "Jazmin," because her "coworker reads DNAinfo every morning and would recognize me."

"It's a fake tree, it's all hollow," she said, eyes peeled for an autograph opportunity.  "We live in the back, so we can see all the construction."

Contrary to the opinion of other residents on the block, the fake tree was not pushed into the fake home addition, instead, crews constructed the scene from the top down. They built damage into the top floor, placing a section of tree limbs into it before connecting the hollow trunk, Jazmin said.

"I love the show — I was going to make a big sign that says 'CASEY!'," she added, referring to actor Jesse Spencer, aka Matthew Casey, an 'intuitive lieutenant who is still coming to grips with the loss of one of his men' on "Chicago Fire."

According to a set worker — one of more than 100 at the scene — crews would be filming on Cortland Avenue until mid-afternoon Tuesday. Fans are allowed to watch the shoot from nearby street corners and were encouraged to gather into one group for the best chances at autographs after the scenes are shot.

A separate crew for an unrelated TV commercial was also filming Tuesday morning in neighboring Wicker Park, where four cars along North Avenue were moved during the night to accommodate the set, irking some residents.

But at the "Chicago Fire" set, Jazmin and a friend said they appreciated the various early warning signs along their block since last week.

"I feel important," she said of the Hollywood-like atmosphere around Humboldt Park. "I've seen this neighborhood come from bad to up-and-coming."

"I remember when we used to hit the floor 'cause of the shooting," she added. "We've seen it change so much."