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Utility Natural Gas Odor, Then House Explosion in Elgin: Six Injured

Tue January 12 2010 11:25 pm
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Video at house explosion in Elgin about thirty minutes after blast on Elma Avenue.

Elgin Fire Department responded to a house explosion and fire about 9:00 p.m. Tuesday at 708 Elma Avenue in Elgin. An apparent natural gas leak caused an explosion and fire that destroyed the house. Six people were transported to hospitals after a second alarm EMS Box was called for mutual aid paramedics to the scene. Six people were transported to area hospitals — including Sherman Hospital in Elgin, Provena St. Joseph Hospital in Elgin, and St. Alexius Hospital in Hoffman Estates. Two patients were reported in critical condition, one in serious condition, and three with injuries reported as not life-threatening. Five of the injured were residents of 708 Elma Avenue, and one person was a neighbor that was involved in rescue before the fire department arrived. A seventh person — a Nicor employee — was reported injured at about 12:45 a.m. Wednesday.

Firefighters protected adjacent homes from catching fire as the destroyed house continued to burn fiercely. Police and firefighters also evacuated residents on the block that were adjacent to the destroyed home. Additional Nicor crews arrived on the scene — some carrying poles. Firefighters also were seen walking toward the scene carrying power saws and mats. Firefighters had to let the house burn to the ground because gas was still leaking and burning at the gas source. Extinguishing the fire before the gas leak is stopped, could cause another explosion.

Nicor gas utility company had been called for complaints about a gas odor about 5:20 p.m. Tuesday to a house at 710 Elma Avenue — next-door to the house that later exploded. Nicor crews arrived about 30 minutes later. Then the neighbor’s house at 708 Elma exploded about three hours later. Nicor crews were in the vicinity when the home exploded. None of the Nicor workers were injured and no firefighters were injured (Daily Herald is reporting that a Nicor worker was injured … developing). Apparently residents of the home were injured and an unidentified neighbor who rescued two residents from the home. The injured were seen leaving the home immediately after the blast, with at least one person crawling out of a window opening. Then the demolished home became fully involved with fire.

Smoke and the smell from the burning home was pouring across Interstate 90 to the north. Several Nicor trucks were on the scene past 11:30 p.m. and overnight. One of the Nicor trucks was directly across the street from the exploded home — apparently parked there before the house exploded and before firefighters arrived. An end loader was seen parked at Elma Avenue and 1st Street near the home at 9:40 p.m. — also probably there before the house exploded.

Fire Departments from Bartlett, Carpentersville, Hoffman Estates, Pingree Grove, South Elgin, Streamwood, and West Dundee responded to the mutual aid EMS Box Alarm at the second level.

The Red Cross was also called to the scene.

Additional Nicor trucks and remote news trucks parked at the Roll-N-Donut house at the corner of Route 25 and Elma Avenue. Nicor workers were working through the night in freezing conditions. Footing was unsteady on shoveled, but iced sidewalks.

View Chicagoland Major Fires & Rescues in a larger map
Close Google satellite view of neighborhood where house exploded in Elgin, Illinois.

View Chicagoland Major Fires & Rescues in a larger map
Regional Google satellite view of neighborhood where house exploded in Elgin, Illinois.

Watch live video from Radioman 911 on
Elgin Fire Department radio frequency during response and operations for house explosion.

CLEAR SKIES?  Weather Data for Tuesday, January 12th, 2010

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