Initial reports that a fire at Avec that led to the death of Chicago firefighter Christopher Wheatley started in a grease chute are now being disputed. “The only thing [we know] is that the fire was contained in the ventilation stack in the alley. There was no damage inside the restaurant,” co-owner Paul Kahan told the Tribune. Time Out Chicago reports that 20 people were inside the restaurant when the fire was discovered, and all were evacuated without incident; they also report that Avec says the hoods initially blamed for the fire were cleaned 20 days ago. The Sun-Times earlier had a grim first-person account of the accident, from a witness identified as a “building manager,” but it is no longer in the updated version of the story on their site. There is no word yet on when the restaurant will reopen, but given an ongoing investigation into the fire’s cause and location, it will likely remained closed through at least the end of the week.
Avec uncertainty continues [Tribune]
Avec Closes Due to Fire [TOC]
Firefighter dies battling blaze at downtown restaurant [Sun-Times]