An early morning fire Monday at a Roselle shopping center caused at least $500,000 damage and forced the temporary closure of six businesses, including a hardware store and a pizza restaurant.
Firefighters responded around 1 a.m. to the fire at Cross Creek Commons shopping center at the southeast corner of Plum Grove and Nerge roads.
When emergency crews arrived four minutes later, they found fire and heavy smoke coming from the facade above the main entrance to Pop's Pizza & Sports Bar.
"We had a significant amount of fire showing at the front main entrance to the restaurant," Fire Chief Dan Anderson said.
The blaze spread along the facade in either direction, including the area above the neighboring Roselle Ace Hardware.
"That's where the bulk of the fire was," Anderson said.
Firefighters spent more than an hour battling the blaze before bringing it under control.
No one was inside the U-shaped shopping center when the fire began and no firefighters were injured.
During the blaze, flames spread to part of the ceilings of the Pop's and Ace businesses. The interior of both businesses became filled with heavy black smoke "from floor to ceiling," Anderson said.
"The fire didn't go as far, but it still created a ton of damage," he said.
Pop's and Ace each sustained significant smoke and water damage. Four other neighboring businesses -- a shoe repair shop, dental office, a dry cleaner and a hair salon -- suffered smoke damage.
On Monday, all six damaged businesses were closed.
Anderson said it could take some time for Pop's Pizza and the Ace Hardware to make the repairs needed to reopen.
"Pop's is actually a very popular restaurant," Anderson said. "So we'd like to see it open back up as soon as it can. But it's probably going to be a while."
At Ace Hardware, owner Tony Fasano said his family has operated the store for 10 years and was planning an anniversary celebration for next month. Now that party will be put on hold.
It will be at least three months before the store can reopen, he said.
"It'll be a while because it was a large loss," Fasano said Monday afternoon. "Basically, we have to gut the store and rebuild it."
For now, he says, the plan is to keep all the store's full-time employees working as part of the rebuilding process.
"This is a family business and our employees are part of the family," he said.
Fasano said he had been on the site since about 1:30 a.m.
"I cope pretty well with large problems like this," he said. "By that I mean, it's something you can't control -- you just have to deal with it."
The exact cause of the fire hasn't been determined, but authorities believe it started in the facade near the Pop's sign.
The DuPage County Fire Investigation Task Force is assisting with the investigation.
At least 50 suburban firefighters battled the blaze. Roselle received assistance from departments and fire protection districts from Bloomingdale, Carol Stream, Glendale Heights, Hanover Park, Itasca, Elk Grove Village, Schaumburg, Streamwood and Bartlett.
• Daily Herald staff writer Bob Smith contributed to this report.