Flames and smoke billow from an Oak Park apartment early Friday. | Network Video Productions
(SUN TIMES MEDIA WIRE) - At least nine people were left homeless when a massive fire tore through an apartment building early Friday in west suburban Oak Park.
Crews responded about 1:15 a.m. after the blaze started in the basement of the three-story building in the 300 block of Washington Boulevard, according to Oak Park Fire Dept. Chief Tom Ebsen.
More than 70 firefighters were called in from a dozen neighboring departments. Among them were several firefighters who briefly lost communication when they went inside the building, prompting a mayday distress call, Ebsen said. They were soon accounted for.
Nine residents escaped unharmed as the fire was brought under control within two hours.
Their apartments were destroyed, officials said. The landlord was putting them up at motels until they find other accommodations, according to the American Red Cross.
The cause of the fire is under investigation.