CHICAGO — At least eight people were injured Tuesday when an explosion ripped through part of a four-story apartment building in Chicago, causing part of the top floor to collapse, fire officials said.
Several ambulances responded to the building, near the intersection of North Central Avenue and West West End Avenue, around 9 a.m. local time, according to the Chicago Fire Department. Seven people from the building and one from a building across the street were subsequently transported to hospitals with a range of injuries, deputy fire commissioner Marc Ferman said.
“I’ve heard burns to traumatic injuries,” he told reporters Tuesday.
Officials said at least three people appeared to be in serious to critical condition.
“Right now, we don’t know what caused this incident,” Ferman said, adding that workers have turned off gas to the building as a precaution. “It’s still under investigation.”
A spokesman for Peoples Gas told WLS-TV that there was no reason to believe the explosion was caused by gas or any of the company’s equipment. Officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Chicago Police Department bomb unit were called to the scene, according to the fire department.
The building had about 35 units, Ferman said. It was not immediately clear how many residents were displaced by the building collapse.
Fire officials relied on technical experts to shore up the building, allowing them to search for injured people. Ferman described the building’s upper floor as “compromised.”
“(There’s) lots of debris to remove. We’re still in the process of doing that,” he said. Later, he added, “Right now ... we’re confident we got everybody out.”
Authorities continue to investigate.
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