Woodstock fire: House explosion sparks fire at home next door amid natural gas leak, officials say

Shelter-in-place ordered in vicinity of fire for natural gas leak, Woodstock fire officials say

ByCate Cauguiran and ABC7 Chicago Digital Team WLS logo
Tuesday, October 10, 2023
Woodstock house explodes, starts fire amid natural gas leak
Two newlyweds and their roommate are starting from scratch after their house exploded and caught fire in Woodstock Monday.

WOODSTOCK, Ill. (WLS) -- A house explosion sparked a house fire amid a natural gas leak in north suburban Woodstock Monday afternoon.

Chopper7 was over the scene in the area of Tryon Street and Lincoln Avenue where firefighters could be seen battling massive flames that appeared to be consuming the home.

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

The home that exploded was completely destroyed, leaving behind only piles of debris. It belonged to Rebecca Bosowski's brother and sister-in-law, who were newlyweds, along with their roommate.

"They just moved in there a year and a half ago and everything is gone," Bosowski said.

She's now gathering donations for the trio, who she said lost everything.

"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," she said.

Woodstock fire officials said the incident started with a call around 12:30 p.m. about a two-inch gas main that had been struck by a crew inside a sewer line.

Dan Cooney, who lives near the scene, said he was told a crew was working on the city sewer system and hit a gas main. When he tried to go home around 2:30 p.m., he said he found his street blocked off by police. He asked an officer if he could go home and pointed to his house, and was told by the officer he could not because a gas line had been struck and there were reports of gas in houses.

Cooney said he returned to his office about a mile away and at about 3:15 p.m. both heard and felt an explosion.

Another neighbor said moments before the house explosion, he was helping his neighbor who had smelled gas in their basement.

"Before we even got down to the basement, we heard this big explosion and stuff, and all of a sudden there was like a second explosion, the first explosion blew the tenant's window out," said Harold Nixon. "The second explosion, it blew up. And then the house caught fire."

"I was busy in my house cleaning and I just heard what sounded like a big crash," said Laura Bobowski, who lives on the block.

Fire officials said 20 fire agencies responded to the scene. No major injuries were reported and all residents were accounted for, but two firefighters were taken to a local hospital to be treated for minor injuries.

Fire officials said at least 10 structures were damaged in the blast, including a church and a school. One affected building was a multi-unit building. Officials said at least 11 people have been displaced and are being helped by the Red Cross.

The cause of the explosion remains under investigation.

Nicor said as of 4 p.m. gas had been shut off to the area and crew were on the scene working with first responders to secure the area and assist with the investigation.

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