27 January 2013


The other day, my friend Derek emailed me a picture he had seen of an empty warehouse on the southside of Chicago that had caught fire during a recent cold snap.  The water from the fire hoses froze rather quickly, completely coating the building and nearby lightpoles, power lines, vehicles, etc. in a thick coating of ice. 
My lovely girlfriend convinced me to take a day off this past Thursday, so we decided we would take a drive that afternoon and see this building for ourselves. The fire had apparently flared up again, so there were three fire hoses aimed at the building, some police tape and roadblocks on Ashland Street, as well as several members of the Chicago Fire Department on the scene.  Nevertheless, we were able to get pretty close to the action and take snapshots of this bizarre and accidentally beautiful spectacle.  It has not been reported that anyone was hurt or injured in this fire, as the warehouse was unoccupied (it didn't even have working gas or electricity), so we were able to satisfy our curiosity without feeling too much like morbid camera-phone vultures.
To see an old and nearly forgotten building caked in ice made me think about what our world might look like if a new ice age came to be.  I tried to imagine all of our magnificent structures, phenomenal feats of human engineering, transit systems, commercial airplanes, factories, roller coasters, water towers, missile silos--for better or worse--thickly entombed in frost for a future civilization to eventually discover.
I'd never seen anything like this before.  This has been a relatively hot topic here in Chicago, and between the scale of the fire (reportedly the largest in the city in seven years) and the remarkable appearance of a scorched and iced-covered warehouse; I think this will be a memorable little footnote in the city's history.  I know I'll always remember it, and I'm certain some kind of drawing and/or print will come of the many photos I took the other day.

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