Chicago house partially collapses after gas explosion on South Side
CHICAGO - A house has partially collapsed following a gas explosion in the Chicago Lawn neighborhood late Wednesday afternoon.
According to the Chicago Fire Department, the gas explosion in the 6600 block of South Claremont Avenue caused both sides of a home to collapse.
Two neighboring homes were also damaged during the incident.
"I was in the house making a salad and all of the sudden, just this loud boom," said Wanda Anderson, who lives next door to the home that suffered the brunt of the damage.
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A man in his 60s was inside the residence at the time of the explosion, officials said. He had to climb through the rubble to escape his collapsed home.
The man, incredibly, had no visible injuries but was taken to Christ Hospital in stable condition, according to fire officials.
"I don’t really know what happened, I just know it was an explosion and I thank God I’m alright, thank God he’s alright," said Anderson.
The explosion was so intense, it shattered the windows on one side of Anderson’s home.
Neighbors say they felt the vibrations more than a block away.
Piles of bricks, broken windows, and walls that are completely blown out are now left behind.
Rey Nava of 24/7 Board-Up and Restoration says the home will likely need to be demolished.
"I’ve been doing demo for 27 years and I have never seen something like this," said Nava. "It’s just chaos, the whole building is gone, basically it’s just the front standing and the back."
Meanwhile, neighbors tell FOX 32 Chicago that there were signs of trouble they tried to report.
"I had been smelling gas for the last few days and I had the gas company here this morning to check it. Yes, I had been smelling gas on a regular basis and I had them here like every week or so," said Anderson.
On Wednesday evening, a spokesperson with Peoples Gas released the following statement to FOX 32 Chicago:
"At approximately 4:00 p.m. today, the Chicago Fire Department called our crews to 6651 S. Claremont regarding a fire. Upon arrival at the address, our crew members observed a partially collapsed house. As a precaution to ensure safety, our crews turned off gas service to the area around the house. Our crews are now working with the Chicago Fire Department and other investigators to determine all facts related to what happened at the address, including the cause of the incident which currently is undetermined."