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Chicago Police trying to determine whether warehouse fire was intentionally set

Photo/Chicago Fire Dept. - MediAffairs.

Photo/Chicago Fire Dept. - Media Affairs.

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Updated: February 27, 2013 6:17AM

Someone is responsible for sparking that spectacular fire that gutted a vacant South Side warehouse Tuesday night, Chicago Fire Dept. investigators said on Friday.

Now Chicago Police are trying to determine whether the blaze was set intentionally or it was an accident.

Fire investigators determined the building had no electrical or gas service — or any utilities that might generate a spark to ignite the fire, said fire department spokesman Larry Langford. So investigators determined the extra-alarm fire was caused by “open flame ignition of available combustibles,” Langford said.

The investigation was turned over to Chicago Police, who will decide if the blaze was intentionally set or accidental.

More than 170 firefighters — or 30 percent of the fire department — battled the blaze at the vacant warehouse in single-degree temperatures Tuesday night. After the fire was extinguished, fire officials estimated the building had been coated with 6 to 8 inches of ice from the firefighting efforts.

The roof and three walls of the structure collapsed as crews fought the flames.

Demolition of the building in the 3700 block of South Ashland Avenue began Friday morning, though fires continued to burn inside, according to fire officials.

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