At least 100 firefighters worked throughout the night at a fourth-alarm fire that caused an estimated loss of several million dollars to a large facility storing boats in Waukegan.
The Waukegan Fire Department responded around 8 p.m. Wednesday to an automatic fire alarm at Bay Marine, 3 East Madison Street in Waukegan.
Firefighters arrived and found flames inside a very large boat storage facility, according to Waukegan Fire Marshal Todd Zupec.
The response was upgraded and eventually reached the fourth-alarm level through the Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS).
Zupec said that fire departments responded from all over Lake, McHenry and Kenosha counties.
Firefighters were met with challenges in navigating and accessing the fire in the large boat warehouse.
The alarm was upgraded to the fourth level due to extensive operations and the extreme cold the firefighters had to deal with, Zupec said.
The boats that were on fire were difficult to extinguish due to their size and accessibility. The warehouse housed approximately 60-70 large boats.
Approximately 100 firefighters responded to battle the blaze in frigid conditions.
Crews spent most of the night trying to extinguish the “very difficult” fire, finally bringing it under control around 2:30 a.m., Zupec said.
Firefighters remain at the scene through Thursday morning putting out hot spots.
No injuries were reported and no occupants were inside the building at the time of the fire.
The cause of the fire is unknown and remains under investigation.
Zupec said the estimated fire loss could be several million dollars depending on the damage to other boats.
“The crews did an exceptional job in very extreme conditions. The nature of the boat storage is difficult to navigate in smoke and fire conditions. The multiple alarms allowed Command to rotate crews to keep them safe during a difficult fire,” Zupec said.