A damaged gas main is apparently to blame for the explosion.
It happened just before 10 a.m. on Wednesday at 415 Holden Avenue in southwest suburban Romeoville.The only thing left standing is the house chimney and a brick facade.
The woman injured in the blast was transferred to the Loyola burn unit and is listed in fair condition. Witnesses say after the explosion she was found in the back yard, screaming. Nicor Gas received a call and less than two minutes later, the blast happened.
"I got up, looked out the back window and saw the whole house behind me, flames everywhere. The woman who lived there was running around in the back yard screaming for help," said Ashley Zizich, neighbor.
The woman was taken to the hospital with burns. Her husband was immediately called home from work.
"They called him, and told him to come home, that his house blew up and it blew his wife out the back of the house," said Gene Myer, neighbor who spoke with the victim's husband.
The cause of the explosion is still under investigation but a contracting crew that was doing repair work on the sidewalks and curbs admitted hitting a gas line.
"You could hear it leaking. He backed away in case of any danger potential," said Mike DeAngelis.
As a safety precaution, residents have been evacuated until it is determined there are no more leaks. Nicor gas company crews have been on the scene all day.
"There have to be a number of conditions, such as natural gas and oxygen as a source of ignition. That's how natural gas ignites," said Carmen Morales, Nicor.
Nicor was on the scene about 20 minutes after the explosion. It was about two and a half hours after the explosion that they were finally able to turn off the gas in the neighborhood.
The fire department says there's no timetable on when the gas will come back on.