The Chicago Sun-Times reported that an apartment building exploded near West End and Central Avenues in Chicago's South Austin neighborhood.
The top floor of the four-story building exploded into the streets after a blast tore through it at around 9 a.m. on Tuesday, September 20, 2022. Witnesses said the bomb-like sound scared them as bricks were thrown into the streets and on top of parked cars. Fire rescue officials said the top floor collapsed due to the blast but are confident they got all victims out of the building. Ambulances took at least eight people to nearby hospitals, with three reportedly in critical condition.
Fire officials also evacuated a neighboring building out of precaution. The cause of the explosion is still not known. Still, agents from the Chicago Police Department's bomb unit and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives were at the scene. One witness said she smelled gas and that "it was so strong. Your nose is burning." However, an initial inspection from the local gas utility Peoples Gas claimed they did not smell gas and did not believe the explosion was related to their equipment, per ABC News.
Attorney contributor Brian Kent is an experienced gas explosion lawyer in the state of Illinois. He recently explained the legal options available to victims injured in gas explosions.
"There is a legal responsibility for gas companies to ensure their equipment is safe for their customers. These companies have a duty to conduct regular safety and maintenance checks. When natural gas leaks or is ignited, it can result in a gas explosion. These blasts can be devastating for victims as well as the environment. Natural gas explosions are to blame for thousands of house fires each year. Sometimes it is due to faulty cooking equipment or heating equipment, such as water heaters. Other times, the culprit is a leak in a gas line."
"Although we have seen an uptick in gas explosions lately, they are still a rare occurrence. Gas may not always have an odor and are difficult to anticipate. When an explosion occurs at a residential building, victims can sustain devastating injuries or even death. This causes the victims and their families to take on expensive medical bills for treatments, medications, and other services on top of being displaced. Gas explosion burn victims may endure life-altering injuries. An experienced gas explosion attorney can help victims hold liable businesses and gas companies accountable, helping them get the financial compensation they deserve."