Hundreds of concerned residents called into suburban Chicago police stations and took to social media Thursday wondering the same thing: What in the world was the loud ‘boom’ that was heard and felt rattling through several southwest neighborhoods?
Around 12 p.m. several southwest suburban Chicago neighborhoods reported hearing a loud rumbling type of noise, described almost as what could have only been some type of blast.
One viewer wrote in that friends from Monee, Steger, Richton Park and Chicago Heights not only heard the same boisterous noise but some even felt it shake their house and the ground beneath them.
Many on social media and in concerned calls mentioned they heard it was possibly from an explosion at a refinery in Joliet, but police say there was no such thing. Shortly after, that theory started trending on Twitter. Others passed along the idea that it was a suburban home that erupted, but authorities said that didn't happen either.
Police from the Village of Frankfort, Manhattan, Beecher and Richton Park – the areas where the majority of the reports on the suspicious noise came from – all said they were also getting dozens of confused calls pouring in, but they had no idea what the sound was either.
Just after 2 p.m., the Will County Sherriff's Office solved the mystery.
When Will County officers were dispatched to an open agricultural field near Monee they found two men, both lawful gun owners, who had been practicing shooting their firearms with exploding targets in a safe area away from any residential neighborhoods.
“I believe they may have doubled or tripled the amount [of exploding targets] they should have [been using],” said Deputy Chief Tom Budde. “May have been several at once, and the two men seemed as surprised by the boom as anyone else.”
Once they heard the shocking strength of the noise, Budde said the friends were “more than happy to cease and desist any further activity.”
So hopefully the suburban Chicago area can put their mind at ease knowing the root of the mysterious outburst, and go back to enjoying their Thanksgiving dinners in peace.