CHICAGO (CBS) — A firefighter was injured, and dozens of people were forced out of their homes, when a huge fire raged through an apartment building Sunday night in southwest suburban Justice.
Authorities said the fire started around 8:50 p.m. on a third-floor balcony at a three-story apartment building on the 8700 block of West 85th Place, and spread to the roof and attic.
Firefighters from at least 20 departments spent several hours dousing the flames from the ground and from aerial ladder trucks. The roof collapsed as residents huddled under blankets outside to keep warm.
Tim Schlosser, who lives in a nearby apartment said he was in the parking lot when the fire broke out. He said he heard the alarms go off, and rushed over to help.
“I was helping people with their animals, and stuff. We come out here, and then from the other side of the building, you really couldn’t see much. Just a bunch of smoke,” he said. “We were able to smell the smoke, and our house did get real smoky, but luckily it doesn’t look like it actually caught on fire.”
One firefighter suffered minor injuries, and was treated and released from the hospital.
No one else was injured.
Danyale Walker returned to her apartment Monday morning to salvage what she could.
“It’s really hard, you know, right after Christmas. Never would have thought that this would have happened. Never would have thought,” she said.
Walker moved into the building about a year ago. She said she heard the fire alarms go off Sunday night.
“We just tried to get out of there and see what was going on. They said that the apartment next to us in the next building was in flames” she said. “I grabbed my three kids, made sure that coats, everything that we needed, the basics, and just left.”
The American Red Cross provided assistance to 44 tenants who were forced out of their homes, and provided food to both residents and firefighters.
The cause of the fire was under investigation.