Explosion, fire destroys buildings

No one injured
May 26, 2009 (CHICAGO) The explosion occurred just after midnight in a vacant building in the 1000-block of North Springfield. It shook the neighborhood and then fire spread to other nearby buildings.

"All we hear is rah-rah, boom! Then everything went up at one time," said one resident.

"I heard a big blast. I jumped up, went to the kitchen and saw big flames coming through the kitchen window," said Carlotta Brady, resident.

The blast blew bricks, glass and other debris out into the street.

"Next thing I knew the kitchen window just blew out. There was this explosion. It just blew everywhere. I screamed and hollered for everyone to get out of the building," said Monchoya Hardy, resident.

"It was scary. People's lives were at stake," said George Nellums, resident.

Two Chicago police officers who were in the area went into the neighboring homes as the fire spread.

"Our instinct was to run toward the explosion see what's going on. We see one building on fire, so we run into the other, the buildings adjacent to try to get everybody out," said Officer Frank Alatorre, Chicago Police Department.

"Banging on doors, pulling people outside of the houses, grabbing kids as best as we could," said Officer Brian Peete, Chicago Police Department.

Their quick action helped to save the 15 to 20 residents in those burning buildings. The buildings were destroyed.

The cause of the explosion and fire is under investigation, but some residents say they smelled natural gas in the area before the blast.

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