No serious injuries in home explosion

May 30, 2008 3:52:52 PM PDT
An explosion that flattened an abandoned home in south suburban Harvey around 8 a.m. Friday felt like an earthquake, according to neighbors.The blast leveled the unoccupied home at 37 E. 158th Street and did some serious damage to neighboring homes. No one was seriously injured.

According to investigators, a gas leak appears to be the culprit in the explosion. The blast was so strong it instantly leveled the two-story home. Harvey police and firefighters were on the scene within minutes, fearing that people might have been inside. The home was vacant since the family that lived there had moved out a couple weeks ago.

Wood debris and chunks of metal siding flew from the home. As two brothers were walking to school across the street, 7-year-old Wayne Ming was hit by debris and knocked to the ground.

"I'm feeling a little woozy," the boy said.

The child was taken to the hospital but aside from a headache, he says he's OK. His mother, Marcia, was inside at the time.

"I was at the stove fixing some crackers, I hear boom. When I hear the explosion, I grab the door, I say 'oh my God, my baby dead' because I don't know what happened." said Mrs. Harris.

Workers from the Nicor Gas Co. made sure the gas to the home was shut off so workers could safely clean up. The force of the explosion knocked out windows of several nearby homes and parked cars. The blast caused serious damage in the house next door where the Mack family lives.

"I jumped up very quickly, I was like 'Oh my gosh, oh my gosh' and I panicked," said neighbor Lawrence Mack.

"The kids were asleep and we heard a big boom and half of the house on the other side is completely damaged," said Michelle Mack.

"It's a big hole in the living room and our bedroom, it blew the windows out?the front porch?everything is damaged," said Tyrone Mack.

The Red Cross is helping the family to find temporary housing.

The cause of the explosion is still under investigation. Although firefighters on the scene say it appears it was a gas leak, a Nicor spokesperson says it's too early to tell. Investigators do not suspect arson.


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