Officials believe the Palatine fire that displaced dozens was caused by a cigarette.

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.

Brown’s Chicken murders: It’s been 30 years since seven people were gunned down at a Palatine restaurant.

On this day 30 years ago, seven people were gunned down during a robbery at Brown’s Chicken in Palatine on a cold January night.

On January 8, 1993, their bodies were discovered piled in a freezer.

All of the victims were employees of the restaurant, including the owners, Richard and Lynn Ehlenfeldt.

Juan Luna and James Degorski were later identified as the assassins.

According to police, they waited until the restaurant was about to close before committing the deadly robbery for less than $2,000.

The men remained at large for years after the murders while a task force comprised of multiple police agencies pursued thousands of leads. Finally, nine years after the murders, a former girlfriend of Degorski came forward in 2002.

Luna was identified by DNA evidence found in a saliva sample from a chicken wing collected by a technician. DNA tracking was in its infancy at the time of the murders.

Luna and Degorski are both sentenced to life in prison. Though it took nine long years to bring them to justice, some believe that time allowed DNA evidence to advance to the point where they could be definitively linked to the crime.

‘I miss my boys,’ parents say after two children die after being captured from an icy Palatine pond.

Romalice and Ro’Siah Brooks’ parents characterized the two boys as inseparable, even in their last moments.

“I’m broken, but I know things will get better in time. But I don’t see it right now “Teghan Ivy, their mother, said

That mother described a horrific scene, telling ABC7 that she heard her children’s screams, saw them struggle in the water, but couldn’t do anything except watch helplessly for what felt like an eternity.

On Wednesday afternoon, the boys perished after slipping into an ice pond while visiting their grandmother’s house in Palatine.

Romalice, 6, and Ro’Siah, 4, were described as more than siblings by relatives. They were each other’s protectors.

“I’m missing my guys. They clashed. They battled valiantly. They really did. And they, collectively, “Ivy said.

Their mother was inside when she claimed to have heard her boys shouting for her name.

“‘Mommy! Mommy!’ I heard them say. And I went outdoors. I did the only thing I could think of. I took off my shoes and went out onto the ice to try to grab them. I didn’t get there in time. The ice shattered, and I plummeted in with it. I made an attempt!” Ivy said. “It felt like forever waiting for them to get them out that water.”

To the sound of their mother’s cries, the boys vanished under the waves.

Both were buried for over 20 minutes before being hauled to dry ground by rescue divers.

Palatine firemen rescued two toddlers from the water in the 800 block of Panorama Drive around 3:31 p.m., according to police. They were brought to two different hospitals and died hours later.

“They had heard us. In that hospital, they heard us. They were also fighting. They battled! “stated the boys’ father, Romalice Brooks. “But they’d been in that water for a very long time. One was there for five to fifteen minutes. The other was between 15 and 20 minutes.”

A parent’s worst nightmare has become a reality for these two.

“It was a great experiment, and I am so sad that I could not complete that,” Brooks remarked. “All I can do is recollect the wonderful moments I had with my sons. Experimenting with them in terms of becoming the parent I wished I had; the father I lacked.”

According to the parents, their boys were constantly together.

“They were the definition, like I said, of ‘my brother’s keeper,” Ivy added. “Even to their final moments, they were together.”

Ivy shared ABC7 photographs of her boys painting Halloween pumpkins. Those identical pumpkins, along with their fingerprints and imprints, now sit by their bereaved parents.

“They’re keeping an eye on us. Our heavenly guardians, “Ivy said. “I’m glad we were there to be at their sides. We were able to communicate with them. They had heard us.”

On this Christmas marked by tragedy, these parents are grateful for the time and affection they spent together.

“Thank you for the finest six and four years of my life. You guys have taught me so much, and I will be eternally thankful “She said.

The boys’ burial is still pending while the family deals with this Thanksgiving tragedy. The family is fundraising for a suitable burial. Their GoFundMe page is here.

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