Cleanup underway after 11 buildings damaged in Woodstock house explosion, including church, school

Chopper 7 captured Woodstock fire after explosion

ByJessica D'Onofrio and Stephanie Wade WLS logo
Tuesday, October 10, 2023
11 buildings damaged, including school, after Woodstock house explodes
Cleanup is underway after a house explosion in Woodstock, Illinois. At least 11 buildings were damaged in the blast, including a church and school.

WOODSTOCK, Ill. (WLS) -- Cleanup is underway Tuesday, after a natural gas leak possibly led to a house explosion in the far northwest suburbs.

Residents returned to the site of the blast in Woodstock Tuesday morning to assess the damage.

It's not clear what can be salvaged in all of the debris.

Woodstock fire officials said the incident started with a call around 12:30 p.m. Monday about a 2-inch gas main that had been struck by a crew inside a sewer line in the area of Tryon Street and Lincoln Avenue.

St Mary's Catholic Church was evacuated and nearby neighbors were initially asked to shelter in place.

About two hours later, as Nicor and firefighters were on the scene, fire officials said there was an explosion.

The blast leveled one home and damaged at least 10 buildings, including a church and a school.

RELATED: Chicago Lawn house badly damaged by gas explosion, Chicago fire officials say

Monica Diaz said her family decided to go to her mother's house Monday when crews informed them there was a gas leak.

"They said if we wanted to walk up to our house, we could park and walk. And we said no thank you. We have four children in the back of our van. We don't want to risk it," she said.

Five minutes later, the explosion destroyed the side of their home.

"We've been in our home for 14 years and so just seeing our pictures, our wedding picture crashed on the ground is so emotional," said Diaz.

Their roof was damaged, their primary bedroom was destroyed, and their garage went up in flames.

"I mean, it's unbelievable," Diaz said. "You never think something like this could happen."

Rebecca Bosowski said her brother and his wife lived in the home that was destroyed.

She's gathering donations and raising money after she said the newlywed couple and their roommate lost everything.

"They just moved in there a year and a half ago, and everything is gone," Bosowski said. "Their whole life was in that house, and they have to rebuild. And we're here to help them, and hopefully people can help them, as well."

Two firefighters were taken to the hospital with minor injuries, but no one was seriously hurt.

The Red Cross responded in the aftermath of the explosion.

They came to help at least 11 people who have been displaced.

The mayor of Woodstock said this all could have been much worse.

Mayor Mike Turner was back at the scene Tuesday morning as fire, sewer and Nicor Gas crews work to clean up and survey the area.

"We have a sense for what could have caused this absolutely, but we want to be thorough in investigating exactly what happened and will do that," he said.

A neighbor said she was working from home in a chair when it happened.

"I kind of came up in the air. It knocked me up in the air, and I really didn't think I was gonna come down to a floor because it felt like my house," the neighbor said.

St. Mary's Church and the school attached were damaged. Children there had no classes due to Monday's national holiday.

"There's a tinge of thankfulness here that there was no school going on at 2:30 in the afternoon. That could have been utterly devastating beyond what this currently is," Turner said.

An investigation into the cause is still underway.

Chopper7 was over the scene Monday, where firefighters could be seen battling massive flames that appeared to be consuming a home.

Chopper7 was over the scene of a massive house fire in northwest suburban Woodstock where there were also reports of a possible explosion.