Romeoville gas explosion levels 2 homes, injures 2 workers

ROMEOVILLE, Ill. (WLS) -- Two Nicor workers were injured, one seriously, in a natural gas explosion that leveled two townhomes in southwest suburban Romeoville Tuesday night.

The explosion happened on Strawflower Court near Wespark Boulevard in Romeoville around 7:30 p.m. Tuesday. Jacquelyn Rodriguez Essawi, a single mother, lost her town home and her dog in the explosion.

"I lost everything," she said.

Rodriguez Essawi was not at home. She said she was not notified about the gas leak.

"I would have gotten my dog out or asked my mother to come by," Rodriguez Essawi said.

A GoFundMe account has been set up to help her family.

Home video shows intense flames shot out of the homes. Several blocks surrounding the blast were evacuated.

Nicor said crews were repairing a two-inch natural gas line, which had been damaged earlier in the day by a cable company when the blast occurred.

"All I know is that there was damage by a third party," said Joe DeReal, a Nicor spokesperson.

There was nothing left of the townhomes Wednesday morning, except charred and twisted wood. Three other homes on that street are still standing.

The American Red Cross said more than 20 people were affected by the explosion and disaster teams helped everyone find a place to stay.

The Village of Romeoville will be setting up a donation fund for the families on their website.

Mark Morawski said he thinks it's time to move. He was blown off his couch back in 1999, when a natural gas explosion destroyed one of the same homes that was leveled Tuesday night.

"I'm probably going to leave when I get a chance," Morawski said.

"Why there were two explosions at the same house, I don't know. Hopefully an investigation will determine why that was. Maybe it was a coincidence. At this point, we really don't know. But I do believe it is safe in this community," Romeoville Police Chief Mark Turvey said.

Authorities said several agencies are participating in the investigation, which could take several weeks. Nicor said the company is cooperating.
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