The fire broke out in the 6600 block of South Bishop Street around 9:30 a.m. Monday. Nearly 125 firefighters responded to help put out the blaze, and a number of them were still at the scene as of 11 a.m.
Deputy District Chief Curtis Powell said the extensive fire began in the rear of a home and spread to an adjacent building. Fire officials said no one was in the South Side home where the fire originated. But the man who owns both houses was in the second structure.
The homeowner was not hurt. But Powell said two firefighters were injured as crews worked to bring the fire under control. They were sent to local hospitals for treatment. One firefighter had minor knee injuries.
"It was pretty tough," Powell said. "The heat conditions caused us to escalate the alarm. With the gear we had on, it was pretty challenging."
Michael Jefferson, a neighborhood resident, said he saw the fire engulf one of the homes and said the firefighters had to make transitions back and forth between the homes to put out the flames.
Fire officials are still investigating the cause of the fire, but said it may have started on the second floor, in a back area or kitchen area of the home.
Fire Media Affairs Director Larry Langford said the American Red Cross was called to the scene to assist an unknown number of residents with housing.
The Sun-Times Media Wire contributed to this report.