A home was leveled and dozens of neighboring homes damaged in an explosion in a northwest suburb Friday night, officials said.
Fire officials said the explosion happened around 10:40 p.m. at Trenton Court and Wellington Drive in the Royal Melbourne subdivision in Long Grove.
The residents of the home, which is estimated to be around 5,000-square-feet, were not inside at the time of the explosion, according to Jeff Steingart, fire chief for the Countryside Fire Protection District.
The home is occupied by a man and a woman, but Steingart said the woman was the only one home at the time of the incident. He said she called to report a fire and was leaving her home for a friend's house when the explosion occurred.
"It's by the grace of God that nobody got hurt," he said. "It would have been a very different story if she did not evacuate when she did."
Two people were treated and released at the scene for minor injuries.
Steingart said the explosion caused damage to an estimated 50 nearby homes within a half-mile radius and compared the wreckage to that of a tornado.
He estimated that at least a dozen neighboring homes were evacuated following the explosion.
“The windows that were nearby us were shattered to pieces,” said neighbor Kenny Yoo. “I went to the front of my house and my double door got caved in and blown into the house and almost all the windows at the front of my house were shattered and a lot of the dry walls on my ceilings came down.”
Residents in suburbs as far away as Palatine and Glenview reported hearing the explosion.
“I was at school, I work at Rolling Meadows in a school, and the whole school shook,” said Michael Kerlin, who lives in Palatine. “We’re seeing debris everywhere. We’ve got shingles, we’ve got the roof, door frames, windows, we’ve got glass.”
A passerby, who captured aerial footage of the scene with a drone, said debris stretched into neighboring suburbs.
"It's just a mess," said Bill Stockwell. "At least a half-mile of destruction. Insulation made it a few neighborhoods over. When I flew over the hole I could see into the foundation."
The cause of the explosion is still under investigation, but officials said a gas company was in the area investigating a possible leak at the time of the explosion.
A spokeswoman for North Shore Gas said technicians were at the scene assisting fire officials with their investigation.
Natural gas in the Royal Melbourne subdivision was turned off, leaving roughly 36 homes without natural gas service, officials said.
The actual cause of the fire and explosion could take months to determine and cleanup will take weeks, Steingart said.
Officials with the Illinois office of the State Fire Marshal and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms are assisting in the investigation.