Firefighters continued to battle an inferno at a document storage facility in northwest suburban Bartlett late Thursday hours after flames first erupted.
Video captured on the ground showed flames burning at approximately 9:45 a.m. at Access, 1200 Humbracht Circle, a records storage facility located in the Brewster Creek Business Park.
Sky 5 was over the scene as dozens of firefighters from suburban departments converged on the building and fought to control the flames. Firefighters initially went inside, according to officials, but within 15 minutes, rack storage units started to collapse and knocked out the sprinkler system to the entire building.
"Once it took out the sprinkler system, and we lost the sprinkler system, that’s when the fire really grew and took off from there," said Chief William Gabrenya of the Bartlett Fire Protection District.
The fire caused heavy plumes of smoke that could be seen for miles and were even detected on radar.
Firefighters were expected to work through the night in the frigid temperatures and believe it’s going to take another day or two before the fire is out completely.
“Some of the challenges for us right now is the cold weather,” Gabrenya said. “We’re trying to keep the firefighters warm so we have the warming busses out here.”
Fire officials said they plan to rotate firefighters overnight. A spokesperson for Access told NBC 5 all employees evacuated and made it out safely.