Chicago-Area Family Lumberyard to Rebuild After Second Fire in 25 Years

By / 1 year ago

Harry's Lumber Company fireA fire broke out at a Chicago-area lumberyard almost 25 years to the date of the last major fire at the yard.

Firefighters responded to Harry’s Lumber Company in Norwood Park around 4 a.m. Tuesday and fought a blaze that rekindled again around 7 a.m., ABC 7 reports. No injuries were reported.

CBS Chicago reports that the company is in its fourth generation of family ownership and has recovered from fire damage before. The same lumberyard was lost to fire on Oct. 19, 1990. WGN talked to owner Ira Rosenthal, who said he will rebuild after Tuesday’s fire. Most of the wood in the yard was spared, but a warehouse was ruled a total loss. The Chicago Tribune says Rosenthal’s commitment to rebuild echoes his father, Jerry Rosenthal, 25 years earlier.

Sales manager Ron Bourdon, who has been with the company for 30 years and recalls the 1990 fire told CBS he couldn’t believe it was happening again.

“I’m really upset, what can I tell you? I’ve been working here 30 years,” he said. “We’ll rebuild again. You don’t give up so easy.”

Ira Rosenthal told the Tribune that while it took a year to rebuild after the last fire, this time, he will rebuild quickly. “As long as nobody got hurt, that’s the main thing,” Rosenthal said. “You can replace buildings but you can’t replace people. Everybody is fine. We’re upset, which is normal, but I can’t wait to get back in business again.”

James Anderson

James Anderson is the managing editor of LBM Journal. He can be reached at or 952.446.7895.