Fire destroys historic Willowbrook Ballroom in suburban Chicago

WILLOW SPRINGS, Ill.  — Authorities are investigating a fire that destroyed a historic suburban Chicago ballroom that hosted performers like Count Basie, Guy Lombardo, and Artie Shaw during the Big Band era.

Willow Springs Fire Chief David Niemeyer says the fire at the Willowbrook Ballroom was reported at about 2 p.m. Friday and people had evacuated by the time officials arrived.

No one was injured.

Niemeyer says the building is a total loss and that firefighters had a difficult time putting out the blaze because poor water supply and the building's older architecture.

This is the second time the ballroom was destroyed at the same location. The building was rebuilt after a fire in 1930 and it still hosted dances with live orchestras. This August the ballroom marked its 90th birthday.