The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

The University of Chicago’s Independent Student Newspaper since 1892

Chicago Maroon

Hyde Park Produce Remains Closed After Fire

The local grocer has been closed indefinitely since a fire on April 5.
The+entrance+to+Hyde+Park+Produce+was+taped+off+following+a+fire+on+April+5.
Seraphina Halpern
The entrance to Hyde Park Produce was taped off following a fire on April 5.

Hyde Park Produce (HPP), the locally-owned grocery store in Kimbark Plaza, has been temporarily closed since a small fire took place inside on April 5. A sign posted on the front door and a Facebook post on April 11 said that the shop will reopen at an unspecified date.

The store has removed stock from its shelves, but electricity is still running and cleanup efforts are underway as of April 18. Hyde Park Produce could not be reached for comment.

An “‘accidental’ electrical issue” started the fire shortly before 9 p.m. after the store closed to the public for the day, according to the Chicago Fire Department, as reported by the Hyde Park Herald. It was put out with “handheld extinguishers” and caused “very slight damage to the building.” The other storefronts in the complex, including A&S Beverages next door, are operating as usual.

Allied Universal Security, the private security contractor that patrols Kimbark Plaza, briefed its employees that the fire involved a foul-smelling chemical spill that caused one person extreme dizziness, according to a security officer who spoke to the Maroon on the condition of anonymity. He said he’d been told by his employer to “be aware.”

Third-year Camilla Linares, who was present in Kimbark Plaza when the fire happened, said that the area “smelled really bad… like burning plastic. A bunch of firetrucks started pulling up. They pried the door open, I think, opened up the fire hydrant, and connected the hose.”

Videos she took that night show smoke inside the store and multiple fire trucks in the parking lot with a ladder extended over the store.

The family-run store has been in Kimbark Plaza since 2008. As of April 11, a week after the fire, the Maroon still observed shoppers arriving at the store every few minutes to find the doors taped off.

Though HPP promises to reopen soon, many historic and locally-owned Kimbark Plaza businesses have been replaced in recent years, according to Block Club Chicago. The two storefronts on either side of HPP are currently permanently closed–Leona’s Pizzeria closed in 2023, and Kimbark Laundry has been closed since 2019. Other Kimbark Plaza business owners declined to comment on HPP’s closure.

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