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updated: 4/26/2014 2:41 AM

Long Grove house explosion heard, felt for miles

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  • A house exploded late Friday night in the Long Grove area near the 14th fairway of the Royal Melbourne Country Club.

      A house exploded late Friday night in the Long Grove area near the 14th fairway of the Royal Melbourne Country Club.
    Courtesy of Adnan Hossain

 

A house exploded in the Long Grove area, setting it ablaze and shaking neighbors and their homes for miles around.

A homeowner got out of the house on Trenton Court off Wellington Drive near the Royal Melbourne Country Club just in time, Lake County sheriff's Sgt. Erwin Drummond said. The resident suffered minor injuries to the back of her legs but declined medical treatment. She is now staying with neighbors.

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The homeowner had smelled natural gas, looked out the window and saw some sparks on a power generator, Drummond said. The house exploded behind her just after she left it.

Rescuers first received a call at 10:45 p.m. Lake County sheriff's deputies and Countryside Fire Protection District, Grayslake and Lake Villa firefighters responded to the scene, still battling the blaze after 1 a.m. The house was leveled.

People's Energy workers came to the scene to address the gas odor. They were not hurt.

Three other homes in the same cul-de-sac were damaged by the explosion, but it was unclear how badly. Debris could be seen on the adjacent golf course.

Many surrounding residents reported glass breaking in their homes and their houses shaking from the explosion.

Resident Karen Grandt, on Forest Edge Lane about a quarter-mile away, said her whole house shook, pictures came off the wall, items fell out of the kitchen cabinets and glass broke.

Carol Haze, the caregiver for the resident living next door to Grandt, said the explosion caused damage to her house and the car in the garage as well.

"It took down ladders from the wall in the garage. It blew out two patio doors on the back of the house," she said. "It blew out the kitchen window over the sink. It rocked everything, pictures, pots, pans. The kitchen is a bona fide disaster. It blew cabinets open. It did some serious damage in the house."

Haze said she had just put the resident to bed and had herself wriggled into bed when "it felt like the house fell down."

"It rocked. It rocked the house."

Haze said she looked out the window and saw the house that had exploded burning.

Stan Zoller of Buffalo Grove said he heard the explosion while in his house about three miles away.

"It shook the furniture in my house. I thought it was thunder at first," he said.

Mike Morello, who lives in Palatine off Dundee and Quentin roads, drove out near the scene of the explosion just to see what was going on after hearing it. "We all kind of woke up at one time," Morello said.

"We felt this all the way in Palatine," said Palatine resident Mike Kerlin, who was among the horde visiting the site. "It shook our entire house. It felt like an earthquake."

Describing what he heard and saw when he arrived at the scene of the explosion, he said, "You could hear, like, a jet engine noise. And you saw the gas, it was about 20 feet high."

One of the Long Grove neighbors, David Bendoff, who lives within a mile of the explosion, said, "It sounded like something crashed onto our roof."

When he went outside to investigate, he learned his neighbors thought the same thing.

"Everybody was looking up at their roofs with their flashlights," he said.

When he called 911, he was told there had been a natural gas explosion.

He took a look with his daughter Brittany.

"When we first got here, there were flames shooting up. "It looked like about a hundred feet in the air," Bendoff said.

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