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Nothing 'Suspicious' Behind Furniture Store Fire, Officials Say

By  Kelly Bauer and Mina Bloom | June 16, 2017 5:39am 

 Fire at Famsa Furniture store in Logan Square.
Fire at Famsa Furniture Store
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CHICAGO — A massive fire at an Avondale furniture store earlier this month appears to have been started by accident, officials said.

There is "nothing to think it was anything suspicious" that started the June 1 fire at Famsa Furniture, Chicago Fire spokesman Larry Merritt said Thursday. The fire appears to have been started by an appliance or extension cord that was constantly plugged in, though the extent of the damage has made it difficult for officials to determine the exact cause, he said.

The fire destroyed Famsa Furniture, 2945 N. Milwaukee Ave., and the store was torn down several days after the blaze. More than 100 firefighters had to help put out the fire.

No one was injured in the fire.

There were four Famsa stores in the Chicago area, with the Avondale location taking over what used to be Grace's Furniture in 2013. The chain sells furniture, mattresses, electronics, computers and appliances.

City records show the Avondale building failed its annual building inspection in December 2015. City inspectors cited a failure to maintain an electric elevator.

Mimi Simon, a spokeswoman for the Department of Buildings, said while the elevator had not been re-inspected since failing the 2015 inspection, the violations were minor.

City records from the inspection show the elevator lacked proper lights and needed a "proper nylon strap" installed on its gate as well as a gate switch on the side gate. The basement elevator door also required repairs so it would properly close.

"It was a freight elevator with little to no passenger activity, likely for moving furniture between floors," she said, adding re-inspections are prioritized by those with the most passenger impact.