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Fire rips through Lakeview building that houses Scarlet

Chicago, IL — Over 100 firefighters were battling an extra-alarm blaze this morning at a commercial and residential building in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood.

Fire in Lakeview building that houses Scarlet Bar :: bill pritchard
Fire in Lakeview building that houses Scarlet Bar 
credit :: bill pritchard
The 2-11 alarm fire erupted at about 7:15 a.m. in the building that houses Scarlet Bar in the 3300 block of North Halsted Street. 

At 8:15 a.m., Chicago Fire Department spokesman Quention Curtis said there were heavy flames throughout the building and that firefighters were working to protect the neighboring buildings on either side of the burning building which includes the offices for Equality Illinois's Bill Pritchard on the scene at 8:30 a.m. reports seeing some flames and quite a bit of smoke coming from the top of the building at 3320 N. Halsted.

Pritchard also reports seeing a considerable amount of water pouring from the the first level which houses Scarlet.

Barry Freiman, an eyewitness, tells "the fire was confined mainly to the two upper floors with the bar destroyed mainly by the water damage in extinguishing the fire."

It's unclear where the fire started in the building, or if it had working smoke detectors. The cause of the fire is being investigated.

Five people escaped unharmed.

"Everyone got out of the building and is safe, so the rest can all be replaced," said Paul D. Cannella, Scarlet co-owner.

Scarlet Bar is a popular gay bar in Chicago's gay and lesbian neighborhood known as Boystown. The bar's name comes from the 1920s, when members of the gay community wore a Scarlet article of clothing to identify themselves to others in the community.

Prior to Scarlet, the Halsted Street building housed Gentry. 

Updates to this article can be found here. and Bill Pritchard contributed to this story.
I hope everyone is safe
Posted by John M on Fri, 2/27/2009 9:26 AM
I agree John. I hope everyone is safe and I'm saddened that such a great bar could potentially be destroyed. Best to the owners and staff and I hope they make a speedy return.
Posted by RyanOH on Fri, 2/27/2009 10:03 AM
This is horrible! First Roscoe's now Scarlet?
Posted by agape_eros_logos on Fri, 2/27/2009 1:20 PM
I was just there last night!! Sad.
Posted by KUjayhawks on Fri, 2/27/2009 2:23 PM
Just DJ'd there on Wednesday night as well and had a great time with TPAN. Glad Dusty(manager) and all are safe. I wish them a speedy return and sending the residents, owners, neighbors and staff my heartfelt wishes for love, strength and support.
Posted by circuitmom on Fri, 2/27/2009 2:33 PM
My prayers go out to Dusty, Paul, Tom and the entire gang at Scarlet. Anyone know how to get ahold of them so I can send a small gift to help them get through this tough time?
Posted by Marcus on Fri, 2/27/2009 5:19 PM
It's a bar...get over it. Luckily the PEOPLE who lived above the bar are safe.
Posted by Nick on Fri, 2/27/2009 7:51 PM
Ok - I am sorry people. I am not trying to sound non compasionate about Scarlet. BUT - PEOPLE lived there. Really guys - bars pop up every day. Everyone keeps saying "the building that HOUSES scarlet" "Scarlet damaged", etc, etc.- How about the building that HOUSED the people that lived there. Sorry that you will not be able to get your weekend drink specials, but there are people who are now without a home. That is what we should be focusing on. Someone could have been killed.
Posted by Casper1763 on Sat, 2/28/2009 10:25 AM
Nick and Casper... I could not have put it better! I'm sickened by all of the focus being on the bar itself. PEOPLE lived in that building and now do not have homes. Not to mention that they could have died... let's just be glad everyone got out okay. Try to have some compassion and get out of the mindset of gay bars for just one second. I seriously doubt that if it was a building that housed a straight bar a block away that any of you would have even bat an eyelash at it. Nick and Casper, props to you. The rest of you, try getting out of Boystown from time to time. Quit focusing on getting drunk, meeting hot guys, and hooking up and go DO SOMETHING -- volunteer or experience some real culture.
Posted by Mark on Sat, 2/28/2009 2:03 PM
Come on guys... stop being so negative and lets support the community! The building is easily identified in the community as "the building that houses Scarlet", but this in no way takes away from the fact that people also lived in the building. Dusty, the manager of Scarlet, lived in the building. He is now not only without a home but he's without a job - as is all the other people that worked at Scarlet. So I'm not worried about my drink specials, I'm worried about a business that supported our community and a business that employed many in our community. Now is not a good time to be without a job. So let's stop trying to find negative in everything and let's step up in support of the owners of Scarlet and those that lost their homes and jobs. Step up and show support, I hope you all make it to the benefit on Monday at Cocktail!
Posted by RyanOH on Sat, 2/28/2009 2:32 PM
Cocktail is having a benefit Monday night for all the people who lived above Scarlet and for the bar itself. Half of all proceeds go to the victims of the fire.
Posted by Sarah on Sat, 2/28/2009 2:34 PM
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