8 injured after apartment building explosion in Chicago

Eight people were rushed to hospital after they were injured in an explosion on the top floor of an apartment building in Chicago on Tuesday, officials said.

The explosion at a 36-unit, four-story apartment building in the South Austin area occurred around 9 a.m., officials said. Deputy Chicago Fire Chief Mark Ferman told reporters hours later that the department had finished looking for potential victims and was “confident” no one was left trapped inside the building, much of the top floor of which had collapsed.

He said technical crews had reinforced the upper floors so firefighters could conduct searches “to make sure we didn’t leave any victims under the rubble.”

The cause of the explosion has not yet been established.

According to Ferman, seven of the wounded were in a building on the west side of the city when the explosion occurred, and one appeared to be in a building across the street. According to the department, three of the victims received serious or critical injuries.

Photos and videos posted to the Chicago Fire Department’s Twitter page showed that much of the top floor had been destroyed. Dozens of bricks and other debris fell into the street, crushing at least one car and seriously damaging two others.

Several residents said they were at home when the explosion rocked the building.

“I was sleeping and suddenly there was a loud crash,” Lawrence Lewis, who was sleeping at the time, told WGN television. “I woke up from the fact that my windows disappeared, the front door swung open. I just saw smoke and ran out of the house. I was asleep. I’m in shock now.”

Otis Maning, who lives across the street, told the Chicago Sun-Times that he was sitting on the couch watching TV when “all of a sudden I hear, ‘Boom!'”

“My heart almost flew out of my body. … I saw broken windows, I saw debris,” he added.

Yumika Badi, 25, was also at her house across the street when she saw the explosion shatter the rear window of her car parked nearby.

“It just made my apartment shake,” Badi told The Associated Press.

The Chicago Police Bomb Squad and Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives agents also responded to the explosion.

(Associated Press reporter Teresa Crawford contributed to this report.)

Copyright 2022 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or distributed.

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