Morgan Park explosion, fire may have been set, CFD says

CHICAGO (WLS) -- A man was killed in a suspicious explosion and fire at a home on Chicago's South Side.

Firefighters responded to a home in the 10800-block of South Morgan Street around 12:40 a.m. Monday and found the house fully engulfed by flames. The force blew out the windows and left a huge hole in the one-story home.

"That pressure buildup has to release. The fire took care of the rest," said Deputy District Chief Jeff Lyle, Chicago Fire Department.

PHOTOS: House explosion, fire in Morgan Park neighborhood

Frederick Cattledge, who lives across the street, had just let his dog out when he heard the explosion.

"Got back in bed and in less than three minutes later, all of the sudden, huge noise. Felt like and 18-wheeler driving 90 miles in the driveway," Cattledge said. He took video of the fireball after the explosion. A man's body was found in the back of the house. He has not been identified, but family and neighbors said they haven't heard from the homeowner, a 47-year-old city sanitation worker.

"I pray and pray and pray that it's not him. We don't know for sure that it's him," Patricia Locke, homeowner's ex-wife, said. "He's not the type of person to miss work. And he is not at work. He is not the type of person to not have his phone charged because he communicates with his daughter all the time."

The body will be identified by the Medical Examiner. No one else was hurt.

The fire was extinguished around 1:20 a.m. Fire detectives said natural gas was not a factor and the case is being investigated as possible arson.

"He never bothered anyone," neighbor Dwayne Barber said. "That is why it is strange. Because he didn't have any known enemies. Went to work, came back home."

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