A twin-engine plane crashed into three houses in Chicago, setting one ablaze and killing the pilot, officials said. The pilot was the only person aboard the plane, and no one on the ground was hurt, Fire Department spokesman Tom Sheppard said. The plane lost altitude shortly after takeoff from Midway Airport, hit the chimney of the first house, sheared off the roof of the second, struck a tree top and then crashed into the back yard of the third house, setting fire to its wooden porch, Sheppard said. Officers on duty in a police station nearby heard the plane's engines sputtering as it flew overhead, Officer Darlene Wicht said. "We heard it go over the station here and we knew he was in trouble," she said.