At least eight people were injured Tuesday morning when an explosion pierced an apartment building in the South Austin neighborhood of Chicago, authorities said.
The Chicago Fire Department said eight people were taken to the hospital, three of whom were in serious condition, after an explosion at an apartment building in the 5600 block of West West End Avenue resulted in “mass casualties.” WGN-TV reported.
“This is a confirmed explosion, but the source of the explosion is unknown,” the fire department said.
Officials said several residents of the building were evicted. The neighboring building was also evacuated. Deputy Fire Commissioner Marc Ferman told reporters that 10 ambulances were dispatched to the scene to respond to the collapsed building.
Several witnesses reported hearing a sound like a bomb exploding around 9:00 am. They said the building shook under the force of the blast.
“I was sleeping, and all of a sudden there was a loud rumble,” Lawrence Lewis, a building occupant, told WGN. “I woke up to my windows being gone and my front door being ripped open. I only saw smoke and ran out of the house. I had fallen asleep. I’m just shattered.”
Otis Manning, a resident of the building across the street, said the Chicago Sun-Times He was getting ready for work when the explosion destroyed the top floor of the neighboring building.
“All of a sudden I hear boom,” he said. “I almost shot my heart out. I saw windows being broken, I saw debris.”
Other witnesses who left the building just before the explosion reported a strange smell in the hallway.
People’s Gas told WGN there was no reason to believe it was a gas explosion. The fire department has not yet determined the cause of the explosion and is still investigating.
“Our first concern is the health, well-being and safety of our residents,” building owner Roman Viere said in a statement. “We are doing everything we can to cooperate with the emergency services and we stand ready to do whatever we can to support our residents.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot made the following statement:
“I am closely monitoring events and both the Chicago Fire Department and Department of Buildings are on site at the collapse. We will provide updates as the situation evolves. My thoughts are with those who were injured and displaced in the Austin borough building collapse. We also have to thank the brave men and women of the Chicago Fire Department who are working to alleviate the dangerous conditions.”
No further information was given.
https://www.theblaze.com/news/8-hospitalized-after-explosion-tears-through-top-floor-of-chicago-apartment-building Eight hospitalized after an explosion ripped through the top floor of a Chicago apartment building