CHICAGO (WLS) --A massive fire sent smoke and flames shooting into the air near the bustling corner of Lincoln, Belmont, and Ashland in Chicago's Lakeview neighborhood Monday.
"Black smoke was everywhere. It was hard to breathe when I got out. I don't know, it just looked really bad," said Nobuko Kuroda, a fire victim.
The fire began around 5 p.m. Monday at a multi-unit apartment building in the 3300-block of North Marshfield, then spread to an apartment building next door and to other buildings across an alleyway. A total of seven buildings were affected.
Officials said the blaze spread quickly in part because of moderate winds and the proximity of the buildings.
"A lot of combustibles, and we had a little bit of a breeze today, so those two things combined will really accelerate the fire quite a bit," said Dist. Chief Dan Cunningham, Chicago Fire Dept.
Investigators focused Monday night on the area where the fire started: a rear porch of a multi-unit apartment building that is now a total loss.
"You could see it was like a big crater. It was just an insane amount of fire, so many different colors of smoke. It was really, wow," said Mark Hewlett, a witness.
Despite the intensity of the fire, officials said residents who were home managed to evacuate on their own and no rescues were needed.
Complicating the firefight was the congestion of the area and downed power lines. A nearby Whole Foods store was left in the dark, as was a YMCA across from the fire scene.
As firefighters continued to douse hot spots Monday night, residents like Hannah Bishop took stock of their losses.
"All clothing items, computer, all that kind of stuff. Jewelry," Bishop said. "Just I'm glad that I wasn't in there. I'm glad that I'm safe."
No one was injured in this fire, except for a firefighter who suffered a burn on the arm but is in good condition.
The Red Cross is helping residents who've been displaced. The cause of the fire is still undetermined.
I-TEAM: BUILDING WHERE FIRE BEGAN FAILED INSPECTION
According to a report obtained by the I-Team, the building where the fire started - 3338 North Marshfield - failed an inspection on April 29, 2015.
Inspectors found that the owners of the building failed to rebuild or replace a dilapidated and dangerous porch. A permit to rebuild the porch was issued about five months later.
The back porch is where fire investigators believe Monday's fire started.
ABC7 was unable to reach the building's owner for comment.