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Pumping Company Bar In Edgewater Damaged In Morning Fire

By  Linze Rice and Alex Nitkin | August 16, 2016 8:53am | Updated on August 16, 2016 1:13pm

 No injuries were reported in the fire at 6157 N. Broadway, but the bar appeared severely damaged.
Pumping Company Bar In Edgewater Damaged In Morning Fire
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EDGEWATER — A fire broke out at the Pumping Company bar in Edgewater early Tuesday, injuring no one but leaving the bar and two above apartments severely damaged. 

At 6:16 a.m., a CTA passenger waiting on the Granville station platform called 911 and reported seeing smoke billowing from the building, police said. 

It was extinguished at 7:21 a.m., according to Chicago Fire Department officials.

The building at 6157 N. Broadway contains the Pumping Company and Holzkopf's Meat Market at at the ground level, with two floors of residential units above it. On the other side of the meat market is Jimmy John's, while on the other side of the Pumping Company is an alleyway. 

John Baker, a Rogers Park resident who had stopped at the CVS store across from the bar, said around 6:45 a.m. he saw fire trucks racing down North Broadway before firefighters spilled out in front of Pumping Company. 

Baker said he saw "smoke billowing" from the side of the building into the alley, as well as out the front door. 

Several firemen ascended ladders up to the third floor of the building on the side and front where Baker said he watched them use an axe to open windows in residential units above the tavern and at the street-level.

He stayed until about 7:15 a.m. and said it seemed as if the fire had calmed, but emphasized the amount of smoke he'd witnessed flowing from the building — particularly out the front of the bar.

A few hours after the fire was put out Tuesday morning, employees and residents milled in front of the building as Red Cross workers handed out food and other aid.

The windows of The Pumping Company appeared shattered, and a strong smell of smoke and burnt plastic remained.

The bar had suffered severe smoke and fire damage, plus water damage from firefighters' hoses, according to general manager Matt Keslar.

"It got pretty hot in there — stuff was melted that was nowhere near the kitchen" where the fire started, Keslar said. "All our glassware is gone, and there must have been 15 inches of water in the bathroom."

Keslar said the bar would reopen, but not before a "total gut job."

Harold Madden, who lives in the apartment directly above The Pumping Company with his mother and daughter, said he smelled smoke as he was getting ready for work around 6 a.m. Tuesday morning.

"I left the kitchen for a minute, and when I went back in it was all filled with smoke," Madden said. "I woke everyone up and got us all out of there."

Madden said the apartment had suffered enough smoke damage to make it "unlivable," adding that it wasn't insured.

"We're pretty much paycheck-to-paycheck right now, and I already missed work today," he said.

Next door, Holzkopf's Meat Market suffered minor smoke damage, but employees hope to reopen "in the next couple of days," butcher Matt Pesola said.

All the food that had been exposed to smoke would be thrown away, he added. 

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