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updated: 9/12/2017 5:36 AM

Cause, victim of Gurnee-area house explosion remain unidentified

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  • Video: Gurnee house explosion

  • Authorities continue to investigate the cause of an explosion that leveled a Gurnee-area home Friday evening. An identification of the body found in the rubble remains undetermined.

      Authorities continue to investigate the cause of an explosion that leveled a Gurnee-area home Friday evening. An identification of the body found in the rubble remains undetermined.
    Steve Lundy | Staff Photographer

 
 

Authorities are still trying to determine the cause of a fiery house explosion Friday near Gurnee and confirm the identification of the body recovered from the rubble.

Lake County sheriff's Sgt. Christopher Covelli said an arson investigator is working with officials from the Gurnee Fire Department and the state fire marshal to pin down a cause for the explosion, which occurred about 6 p.m. Friday in the 36400 block of Streamwood Drive.

"We continue to investigate to determine if the explosion and fire were suspicious in nature," Covelli said. "We have our sheriff's arson investigator working with the other departments in making that determination."

Lake County Coroner Dr. Howard Cooper said identifying the man whose body was found after the explosion could require DNA testing, a process that would delay a determination for weeks. Dental records that could allow for speedier identification are not available, he said.

He said his office has "a tentative person" they believe is the victim, but more information is needed to make a positive identification.

The office also is pursuing "other avenues" to identify the man, Cooper said. The effort includes a forensic pathologist from the coroner's office, as well as a forensic odontologist.

According to the sheriff's office, the explosion set off a fire that was extinguished about 8:30 p.m. Friday, after natural gas to the site was shut off. A few minutes later, Gurnee fire officials notified deputies and detectives they had located a body in the debris.

Six neighboring homes were damaged by the explosion, which was felt miles away. Deputies said someone in one of those houses suffered a minor injury from falling debris. She was treated at the scene.

Anyone with information about the explosion is asked to call (847) 549-5200.

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