Fire Fallout

By Scott Smith in News on Oct 26, 2006 6:35PM

The fire at the Dexter Wirt 2006_10_dexterwitt.jpgbuilding will continue to indirectly mess things up for Orange and Green Line CTA riders, Columbia College students, the homeless and anyone trying to get a drink at George's.

CTA officials want to make sure the rail structure is safe before allowing train service to resume between Roosevelt and the Loop. In addition, the burnt structure now needs to be torn down so that pieces of the formerly historic building do not fall onto the tracks. Workers began tearing down the building last night. For safety reasons, nearby buildings, including those housing a homeless shelter and Columbia College, have been evacuated.

Street closures and reroutes are still in effect though State Street appears is now reopened. Green Line trains now operate in a counterclockwise direction through the Loop. Riders have reported clogged Red Line trains and slower service throughout the Loop as a result of the reroutes.

Though commenters here speculated about the cause of the blaze, it’s worth noting the Sun-Times reports that workers were using cutting torches to remove valuable metal from the building, prior to the start of the fire. The Tribune profiles the owner of the building, whose efforts to get historic status for the building had failed in the past.

With so many transit issues at work, the CTA could take a lesson from one of its biggest fans, Tony Coppoletta. A quick glance at his Chicago Transit Status page will tell you which lines are experiencing problems, while a couple clicks will give you the full details on any delays, construction or fires affecting your commute. It’s a lot easier to use than the CTA’s website, which forces you to first figure out whether to look in their Customer Alerts or Press Releases sections and then click through and read several press releases to determine how much extra travel time you need to allow.

Image via geekgrrl