About 1:10 a.m., a CTA bus driver heard a "pop" and saw flames coming from a building in the 100 block of West 73rd Street, Hernandez said.
When firefighters arrived, it appeared part of the building had already collapsed, Hernandez said. The entire building later fell in and the flames spread to two other buildings.
Firefighters battled the blaze from the outside and were still putting out hot spots hours later, Hernandez said. Firefighters were able to search the two buildings still standing and found no one inside.
As of 7 a.m., they had not yet been able to search the building that collapsed, Hernandez said. Officials were waiting for equipment to arrive to remove the rubble.
A neighbor, Felicia Simpson, 33, said several people had been living in the home. "You would always see some little kids and at least two women," she said. "I'm just hoping they weren't in there."
Simpson's boyfriend, Demetrius Grier, 32, a photographer who lives in the neighborhood, said he would often play basketball across 73rd Street from the building.
He said until about two weeks ago he would often see people in the building. Since then, he had not seen any one there. He does not believe anyone was in the building at the time of the fire.
"You would always see somebody over there," said Grier, as he leaned on a fence at the south end of the basketball court, looking out at the firefighters battling the fire.
He said about two weeks ago he spotted representatives of the Cook County Sheriff's office at the building and wondered if the people had been evicted or if the builiding was in foreclosure.
"I'm pretty sure there was no one there (today)," Grier said.
The cause of the blaze has not been determined.
Written by Chicago Tribune
Courtesy of YellowBrix - YellowBrix