CHICAGO (CBS) — A large house that was being expanded was a total loss Tuesday morning, after an immense fire in west suburban Barrington, while the family was overseas on vacation.

The fire started around 2 a.m. at a home at the end of a quarter-mile driveway on Cuba Road between Old Barrington Road and Route 59.

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“The big issue was water to the scene, since we don’t have fire hydrants in this area,” Barrington Countryside Fire Proteciton District Chief Jim Kreher.

A total of 30 suburban fire departments were called to the scene, and more than 100 firefighters responded to the blaze.

Firefighters had to truck in water 3,000 gallons at a time.

“A lot of departments in the area have what we call tenders. They’re vehicles that hold approximately 3,000 gallons of water each, and we go to hydrants to fill them up,” Kreher said.

The chief said, despite the fact there were no hydrants close to the home, crews were able to get water on the fire right away when they arrived, and kept pouring water on the flames throughout the operation.

“We’re thinking about 150 to 160 thousand gallons of water that we used on the fire,” Kreher said.

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Kreher said an addition being built onto the 3,800-square-foot home appeared to be about 2,000 square feet.

No one was home at the time, as the family who lives there was vacationing in Australia.

“So we’re glad to say that nobody was hurt,” Kreher said.

By the time neighbors saw the fire, it had already grown quite large. The home was a total loss.

“There’s still four walls standing, but it’s gutted,” Kreher said.

Firefighters had to work from a defensive position, because it was too dangerous to enter the home.

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The cause of the fire was under investigation.