By Bob Uphues
Carson Pirie Scott, an anchor tenant at the North Riverside Park Mall since it opened in 1975, will re-open to the public on Thursday, Feb. 26 at 8:45 a.m.
The store, which is located on the west side of the mall at 7501 Cermak Road, has been closed since a fire inside its loading dock on Nov. 12, 2014 sent heavy smoke throughout the two-story space.
No one was injured in the fire, which was contained to the loading dock and ignited during the early morning hours when no one was inside the store. North Riverside Fire Chief Brain Basek said at the time that the fire's cause appeared to be electrical in nature.
Smoke billowed throughout the store because its smoke evacuation system wasn't functioning at full capacity. That is something company officials have worked to rectify during the three months the store's been shuttered.
As of last week, according to North Riverside Fire Marshal Ken Rouleau, a portion of the smoke evacuation system still was not working correctly. He said the store would not open until the system was working at full capacity, "but I don't foresee them not opening [on Feb. 26]."
Carson's has spent close to $1.3 million renovating and updating the North Riverside store. Rouleau said that the company has installed new ceiling tiles on both levels, relocated some interior walls, cleaned all the light fixtures, added several new fire hose connections on both levels and repainted the store.
"To me, they went over and above," said Rouleau. "It looks like a new store now."