Six people were injured, including three Chicago firefighters. Cold, windy weather created many hazards and challenges.
None of the injuries was life threatening. A mother and her daughter had to be rescued.
The fire broke out around 10:30 a.m. in the 4300-block of West 25th Place in the rear of the home, and the flames quickly spread.
"The firefighters pulled up, there was a tremendous amount of fire, and that engulfed the back porches of the original fire building," said District Chief Thomas Kennedy, Chicago Fire Department.
The Red Cross said about 25 people were being helped. Residents say at least three families were living in the house. Most got out safely on their own.
"Everybody's fine, thank God. Thank God everybody came out good," said one resident.
But a mother and her daughter, who's around 10 years old, became stranded on the second floor.
"We seen the fire, and it was pretty strong. And we seen the people hanging out of the window, a lot of smoke, called the fire department to try to help them out as much as we can," said witness Ricardo Cedillo.
Firefighters used ladders to get them down as smoke and fire consumed the building.
"I saw when they put the ladders up there. They come down by themselves," said neighbor Gabriel Gamino.
"The rescue was pretty dramatic because the fire department got the ladders up, and they pulled the people as fast as they can out of the house," Cedillo said.
"The back porches had collapsed, so there was no access to get to them. With that, compounded with the floor decking in that attic area, it made it more difficult for the firefighters to get up there," Kennedy said.
Officials say the mother and daughter and another woman were taken to hospitals and are expected to be OK.
Of the three firefighters injured, one suffered a cut on his face, another injured a leg when a stairwell collapsed and a third firefighter suffered fatigue.
A second house next door also caught fire, causing significant damage as high winds fanned the flames.
"How did it happen? I don't know, just everybody was just looking at the smoke. There's a lot around over here," Gamino said.