Gas explosion leaves gaping hole at Maine Township apartment building
Bricks, shattered glass, clothes and household furnishings were scattered about an unincorporated Maine Township apartment complex Thursday following a gas explosion in a garden apartment, authorities said.
The explosion ripped apart layers of brick and insulation, leaving a gaping hole in the corner of the building and causing a partial structure collapse.
Firefighters and structural engineers remained on the scene of the three-story building at 9955 Linda Lane near Des Plaines throughout the afternoon Thursday to evaluate the structure, while residents waited outside. Emergency responders were first dispatched at 9:15 a.m.
Only one minor injury was reported.
"We're just very thankful the explosion happened the way it did and that we don't have anybody seriously injured," said North Maine Fire Protection District Chief Rick Dobrowski.
The blast was so powerful that windows on a nearby SUV were also blown out. Residents have been evacuated from two nearby buildings while they are being inspected.
Daisy Roman, 34, was asleep in her apartment when she was awakened by the blast.
"I was on my side and next thing you know, what woke me up was the ceiling on my face," she told WBBM 780-AM.
About 10 people live in the 6-unit building; all were accounted for Thursday morning, Dobrowski said.
He said an odor of gas had been detected, but it's unclear if it happened because of the explosion, or if it caused the explosion itself. Nicor Gas crews were also on scene to temporarily shut off gas service.
The cause of the blast remained under investigation.
The Salvation Army has been helping since the morning. It provided lunch to residents and workers, and dinner to residents. It is providing housing assistance to about nine families so far, as well as mental-health counseling, and any help needed obtaining clothing or replacement medications, a spokesman said.