Neighbors say a loud explosion shook the street right before fire destroyed two houses

DOLTON, Ill. (Fox 32 News) - Two homes in south suburban Dolton were destroyed and another damaged on Sunday when a fire spread.

Neighbors on Riverside Drive said they heard an explosion so powerful that their homes shook, then saw flames shooting out of a vacant house.

"It seemed like the house was engulfed in flames in a matter of ten minutes," said neighbor Bessie Lipscomb. "I looked out of the window and the flame got higher and higher. I just ran out of the house just terrified!."

Neighbors said that renters moved out of the house about a week ago.

The fire spread to the homes on both sides. One was completely destroyed; the damage to the other was minor. No one was hurt.

Relatives of the owner of the home that was destroyed said she had lived there for 30 years.

"I just can't imagine losing my whole home," said the victim's niece, Marie Nolen. "Everything she has is in there."

"You can get more things, but they won't have the same meaning," said the victim's sister, Barbara Roper. "But she has her life and that's the most important thing."

The Dolton Fire Department said the cause is under investigation.