According to fire investigators, the fire that ripped through a Palatine condo complex was accidental and may have been started by a cigarette on a balcony.
According to the Daily Herald, ABC7 Chicago’s news partner, investigators used a drone to inspect parts of the charred building due to structural safety concerns.
Last week’s fire severely damaged 22 condo units, evicting the residents.
Several people were displaced after a fire ripped through the northwest suburban apartment complex earlier this month, causing part of the roof to collapse.
According to the Red Cross, 50 to 60 people were displaced, but no one was injured in the fire, which began shortly after 5 p.m. on March 19.
“It’s awful,” witness Sarah Martinez said. “It’s going to affect many families in the area and we are very sad for them.”
As nearby residents watched the wreckage, billowing black smoke filled the skies.
The building’s exterior was left in shambles.
Flames spread from building 12A to 12B Dundee Quarter, which are attached three-story buildings with a fire separation between them, according to Palatine Fire Department Deputy Chief Anthony Lavacchi.
As people’s bedrooms burned and their belongings were destroyed, you could see right into their units.
“It’s devastating. You can see in that one,” Bustamante said. “You can literally see the actual closet, the rooms inside. It hurts.”
The apartment complex has several nearby buildings. According to neighbors, this isn’t the first fire in the area.
“This is the third building that burned down in this area,” said Eric Lopez, who lives nearby. “They seem not to be able to get it under control. There’s another building on the other side that’s burnt up.”
A donation drive was underway to collect items for fire-displaced families.