The offices of one of the world’s most famous comedy troupes have been destroyed. The Chicago offices of The Second City, which helped launch the careers of names like Bill Murray, Joan Rivers, Tina Fey, and Stephen Colbert, were severely damaged in a fire Wednesday. Chicago Fire Department Commissioner Jose Santiago says what began as a grease fire in a restaurant below the offices quickly spread through a vent. “There is a lot of damage here due to the fact that fire got its way into what we call the cockloft, the area located between the roof and the ceiling underneath,” Santiago said. “Once that happens, we were trying to breach from the outside, it was all bricked- covered.”
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The main concern for firefighters was making sure the blaze didn’t spread to the nearby Second City Theater, and they accomplished that goal, though plenty of water had to be drained from that portion of the structure. Chicago Alderman Brian Hopkins, whose ward includes The Second City, speculated the office building, which dates to the 1880s, may have to be demolished. Three people suffered minor injuries as a result of the fire, including two firefighters and another person who had to be taken to the hospital for smoke inhalation. The Second City says its postponing shows and classes for the time being. The vast majority of its memorabilia and archives were kept off site, though some items kept in workers’ offices were most likely destroyed in the blaze.