Explosion Lifts Home Off Foundation

By BJ Lutz and Christian Farr
|  Wednesday, Apr 27, 2011  |  Updated 10:22 PM CDT
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Explosion lifted home off its foundation, but occupants only suffered minor injuries.

Explosion lifted home off its foundation, but occupants only suffered minor injuries.

With a sound that could be heard for blocks, an explosion in southwest suburban Hickory Hills on Wednesday lifted a home off its foundation, blew out walls and scattered debris around the yard.

But miraculously, the elderly couple inside were able to walk away from their home on their own volition and with only minor injuries.

Donald Altman, 83, and his wife, Virginia Altman, 82, were on opposite ends of the home they've occupied since 1966 when the home blew up around them, said their daughter, Christina Altman.

They reported no smell of gas beforehand, but a hissing sound could be heard after the explosion. NICOR was called to the home to determine what went wrong.

From NBC Chicago's helicopter, damage to the home on Barberry Lane was clear.  An entire level of the home was blown out, causing the home to collapse upon itself.  Contents of the home were strewn about the grass.

One neighbor said her cousin was sitting in a truck nearby when the house exploded.  She reported seeing the home lift into the air.

Another neighbor, Traci Countryman, said she was sitting on the couch with her daughter when her whole house shook.

The Altmans are listed in good condition at Advocate Christ Hospital and Medical Center in Oak Lawn.  They are slightly burned, Christina Altman said, but nothing that's deemed to be life threatening.

"It's a miracle," she said.

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