STONE PARK, Ill. (CBS) –A dozen families were left homeless Saturday after winds fueled a fire that spread to four residential buildings in the western suburbs.
As CBS 2’s Steven Graves reported, community leaders in Stone Park were scrambling to find people places to stay after the fire.
The fire broke out Saturday afternoon in the 1800 block of 36th Avenue, south of North Avenue, in Stone Park. A total of four buildings and 12 units were destroyed, and people at the scene said more than 20 people were displaced.
A view from overhead shows the devastation – four apartment buildings in Stone Park were destroyed, each of them with three units.
A dozen families – some with young children – were left homeless.
Roberto Sinfuentes watched his home burn. He said he saw the smoke as he drove back from his restaurant around 3 p.m.
“I tried to run to get my brother who was in the apartment.” Sinfuentes said in Spanish.
Thankfully, his brother got out safely. By the time the firefighters arrived, three buildings were already in flames.
The Melrose Park Fire Department took charge at the scene. The chief said it took teams of firefighters three hours to get the fire under control.
Schiller Park firefighters also responded.
Investigators believe the fire started on a wooden back porch of one unit. They say winds fueled it, and that quickly made flames jump from one building to the next on 36th Avenue.
“They’re very sad that they lost everything today,” said Pastor Jesus Molina, who is helping the displaced families. “We’re trying to help for at least one night – to bring them to a hotel. So that’s what we’re working on right now.”
The Village of Stone Park said there some people suffered minor injuries in the fire, but was not more specific.
The American Red Cross of Greater Chicago is assisting as the Village of Stone Park asks for help from families.
Investigators late Saturday were still looking into the origin of the fire.