Officials: Home Destroyed in Oak Lawn "Explosion"

By Susan Carlson
|  Saturday, Jan 11, 2014  |  Updated 7:08 PM CDT
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Police are questioning someone after a home exploded in Oak Lawn Saturday. Michelle Relerford reports.

Police are questioning someone after a home exploded in Oak Lawn Saturday. Michelle Relerford reports.

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Firefighters Battle Blaze in Little Village

Several people were injured and at least 20 people were displaced Saturday morning in an extra-alarm fire in the West Side’s Little Village neighborhood, officials said.
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Fire officials said one home was destroyed and at least two neighboring homes were damaged after a house burst into flames in a suspected explosion in Oak Lawn Saturday morning.

Crews responded to the scene early Saturday morning  for a report of a house fire in the 8900 block of South 55th Court. The fire was escalated to a still and box alarm due to weather conditions, officials said.

No injuries were reported, according to authorities.

Battalion Chief John Hojek, who was one of the first to arrive at the scene, said the flames were the result of an explosion.

"I could tell right away it was an explosion," he said. "It knocked the walls out. For that to happen there had to be a tremendous explosion."

Hojek said a "domestic incident" was reported prior to the explosion, but the cause remained under investigation Saturday.

Fire Chief Scott Boman said one person was taken into custody following the incident.

"We had a domestic situation, a house explosion, nobody was in the house and the perpetrator is in custody," Boman said.

Oak Lawn Police said they were called to the house around 2:04 a.m. Saturday for an "unwanted subject." Police said a verbal disagreement took place and the wife and children in the home left for the night while a man stayed at the house.

The man was located outside the home uninjured after the fire and police are questioning a "person that lived in the house."

The incident remains under investigation, police said.

"Somebody obviously did something," Hojek said.

The explosion had not been declared arson as of Saturday morning, according to authorities.

What was left of the home was deemed unstable is expected to be knocked down, Hojek said. Two neighboring homes suffered "minimal damage" including shattered windows and a damaged fence.

"I saw all the trucks and smoke coming from the house. It's amazing for this neighborhood," said resident Frank Fabian. "It's always been a quiet neighborhood."

"I heard nothing, which is shocking," said resident Rose Wabol. "It's just a shock. This is very unusual."

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