At least 18 homes uninhabitable after Marengo explosion

MARENGO, Ill. (WLS) -- Residents in a Marengo neighborhood spent Monday cleaning up after an explosion that damaged dozens of homes.

About 50 homes were damaged, of which at least 18 were determined to be uninhabitable, police said. Two people sustained injuries when a house in the 500-block of 7th Avenue exploded at about 5 a.m. Sunday.

"If you take a look at the scene it's almost like a tornado came through," said Police Chief Rich Solarz.

Investigators have not officially determined what caused the explosion, although all signs point to natural gas. It could a week or more to determine a cause, because all of the insurance companies have their investigators on the scene and could have input.

The owners of the house that exploded were out of town at the time.

"Kind of a PTSD experience. It doesn't really sink in," said neighborhood resident Ross Hadlock, who was home with his 10-year-old daughter when the blast startled him out of bed.

He said the explosion shook everything off the walls inside.

While Hadlock is able to go in the house, he's not comfortable being there yet.

Meantime, a small community in McHenry County about 60 miles northwest of Chicago, is banding together to help each other out with volunteers donating ice and water.

On Monday, insurance adjusters were in the debris-filled neighborhood, documenting the damage and trying to determine whether homes are structurally sound or need to be knocked down.

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