Residents of four households had to scramble out of their Schaumburg townhouses early Saturday morning after fire broke out in a garage.
No one was injured in the blaze in the 200 block of Oak Knolls Court that started around 3 a.m., but flames quickly spread through other's garages, lighting up vehicles and then flitting upward, officials said. Five vehicles ignited, but there were no explosions. The building was left uninhabitable.
Jessica Towles, the property manager from Lieberman Management Services, said residents were staying at nearby hotels and receiving assistance from the Red Cross.
The four units in the townhouse building were badly damaged, while a firewall prevented the fire from spreading to another four units, which sustained only smoke damage, Towles said.
Firefighters were dispatched at about 3:20 a.m.
"When the first units arrived, it was completely involved in fire. Then it started spreading up the outside walls into the eaves and attic," Schaumburg Fire Capt. John Steele said. "Our fire companies quickly got it under control, then it was a matter of chasing the hot spots.
"There was extensive water and smoke damage," Steele said. "All four (units) were equally damaged ... but everyone was out when got there -- no one had to be rescued."
Firefighters are still investigating the cause but it does not appear suspicious, Steele said.
Smoke detectors were working and alerted residents of the two-story wood structure. Fire departments from nine different towns assisted Schaumburg.