The fire consumed two six-unit apartment buildings in a complex located in the 7700 block of Woodward in Woodridge. Firefighters and emergency officials responded to a call just after 11 a.m. Thursday morning.
No one was injured, which fire officials credited to the time of day. Amanda Yehboa was taking a nap in a neighboring building when she heard sirens.
"I woke up and then I saw smoke everywhere and I didn't know what was going on," said Yehboa.
The flames were so strong in the apartments that firefighters could only take a defensive approach. Fire officials said the roof came down almost instantly, which is why they were unable to save any of the apartment units. The cause of the fire was an errant balcony barbecue, according to the Woodridge-Darien fire chief.
An Afghani American has lived in this country for 35 years, owns half the building and occupied one of the downstairs units. He was at the gym when the fire erupted. He's confident he can rebuild.
"Yeah, I'm a handyman to take care of it," said Haroun Baki, landlord.
The Red Cross is looking to place more than 30 residents displaced by the fire in temporary housing.