CHICAGO (AP) — Chicago fire officials say the spontaneous combustion of rags used to stain a floor was the cause of a fire that engulfed a historic South Side church.
About 150 firefighters responded when flames engulfed the 92-year-old Shrine of Christ the King Church near the University of Chicago in the Woodlawn neighborhood. The extra-alarm fire started about 6 a.m. Wednesday and was extinguished by about 9 a.m.
Fire spokesman Larry Langford says a volunteer accidentally left rags on some plastic sheeting. Product warnings called for them to be stored in water in a metal container.
The church was built in 1923. In 2004 a fundraising drive was launched for renovations.
Deputy Fire Commissioner John McNicholas says despite the collapsed roof, the structure of the church appeared "in relatively good shape."