Tri-State Fire Protection District firefighter/paramedics responded about 10:05 a.m. Friday October 20, 2017 to a large explosion and fire at a condo building at 6169 Knoll Wood Road Willowbrook, IL. At least three additional incidents occurred, which are possibly related to a gasoline leak or spill into the sewer system from the Speedway gas station at 6421 South Cass Avenue. There was no official confirmation of the connection of the gasoline hazmat incident at Speedway to the explosion at Knoll Wood Road.
At the Knolls Condominium building, windows and window frames were blown out with screens and other debris scattered in the yard near the building. The fire was extinguished in a short time.
Firefighters activated a MABAS Box Alarm which brought firefighters from at least ten departments staging or working near the Knolls Condominium complex
Firefighters treated one person at the Knolls scene. That person was transported to a local hospital. No details about that person’s condition were immediately available. No other injuries have been reported.
*** PEOPLE SHOULD NOT USE THEIR CLOTHES DRYERS ***
*** PEOPLE SHOULD NOT SMOKE INDOORS! ***
ABC 7 Chicago is reporting that an eyewitness said a woman told the witness that she put change into a clothes dryer at Knoll Condominium, and that the explosion occurred when she pushed start on the clothes dryer. Early indications are that gasoline vapors in the sewer system ignited when the clothes dryer was started.
Investigators from Tri-State FPD, Willowbrook police, Willowbrook public works, the Flagg Creek Water Reclamation District and the DuPage County Office of Emergency Management are working to determine the cause of the blast.
Just before 10:52 a.m. Westmont firefighters started investigating a hazmat incident at the Speedway gas station about 1.6 mile west of the Knoll Wood explosion, and at about the same latitude. Firefighters were checking basements of nearby businesses for explosive levels of gasoline vapors.
Firefighters were also checking sewers with explosives detection meters, opening manhole covers, south and east of the Speedway gas station toward 63rd Street.
CBS 2 Chicago reported that residents began smelling gasoline Thursday afternoon, The fire department responded at least three times by Thursday night to investigate a report of the smell of gasoline in the air.
The natural gas supply to the Knolls Condominium complex was shut off as a precaution.
The American Red Cross is responding aid to those who have been evacuated in the area. Residents will not be allowed to return until investigators determine the source of the explosion and correct the problem.
MORE INCIDENTS …
Firefighters responded just before 12:04 p.m. Friday to 6238 Bentley Avenue to a report of an explosion in a laundry room with no fire. Firefighters on arrival confirmed an explosion but no fire. The Bentley Avenue explosion was located about one mile north and about 3 blocks west of the Knoll Condo explosion, and about one mile north and about 5 blocks east of the Speedway gas station.
Firefighters also responded about 12:30 p.m. to 325 63rd Street for a report of black smoke in the building at that address. Firefighters worked to extinguish the fire with a working fire response. The fire on Bentley Avenue was located about 2 1/2 blocks southwest of the Knoll Condos, and about five blocks east of the Speedway gas station.
Firefighters responded about 1:15 p.m. to 366 Coralynn Court to a report of an explosion and a house fire (explosion not confirmed). The fire on Coralynn Court was located about three blocks southwest of the Knoll Condos, and about four blocks east of the Speedway gas station.
Later in the day on Friday, firefighters received an increase in the number of calls reporting gasoline fumes odor.
In some neighborhoods, firefighters went house to house or building to building to shut off pilot lights to prevent ignition of gasoline vapors.
A MABAS 21 Interdivisional Strike Force Interdivisional Box was activated to respond to MABAS Div 10 (Willowbrook and Westmont). Firefighters were staging at the McCook Fire Department, 5000 Glencoe Street. The Task Force response includes two fire engines, one ladder truck, one squad, two ambulances, and three chiefs.
There was no mention of the incidents on the Willowbrook official website; and the official Twitter account for Willowbrook appears to be inactive since April 2014 — even though it remains as a referral link from Willowbrook’s official website.
Media was directed to meet the PIO at 140 Lincoln Oaks Drive.
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