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Rooftop fire on downtown Chicago high-rise extinguished; no serious injuries reported

Posted: 03/28/07 at 6:49 pm EDT

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CHICAGO (AP) -- Fire broke out on the roof of a 45-story office building Wednesday, sending some workers fleeing into the downtown streets.

Firefighters contained the flames to equipment on the roof and said the blaze posed no danger to occupants. It was extinguished in two hours and damaged only the building's exterior.

Authorities did not call for an evacuation, but assisted people who wanted to come out.

District Fire Chief Gregory Lewis would not discuss a possible cause, saying it was under investigation.

Two people who descended the stairs were hospitalized for exhaustion, Lewis said. Emergency workers were checking other people as a precaution.

The building, just west of the Chicago River, has several commercial tenants, an Italian restaurant, a parking garage and a child care center. Several children were led out of the building shortly after the smoke was reported.

Some workers in the building complained that they didn't get enough information.

The fire department used the building's intercom to tell workers to find a "safe place, but they didn't say what that safe place was," Geoff Hall said after walking down 16 flights of stairs.

"In my view, the only safe place is home," Hall said.

(Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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