At least eight people were hospitalized following an explosion and building collapse in Chicago's Austin neighborhood Tuesday morning that led to a massive emergency response, street closures and numerous evacuations as officials searched for anyone possibly trapped in the debris.
Fire officials said at least three people were believed to be in critical condition, while five others were in stable condition. All of the victims were taken to various hospitals across the city with injuries ranging from burns to traumatic injuries, according to fire authorities.
The collapse happened just after 9 a.m. Tuesday at West Washington Boulevard and North Central Avenue, fire officials tweeted.
The department said an explosion occurred at North Central Avenue and West End Avenue, causing the upper floor of a residential building to partially collapse.
Feeling out of the loop? We'll catch you up on the Chicago news you need to know. Sign up for the weekly Chicago Catch-Up newsletter here.
More than 130 emergency personnel responded to the scene and final searches were conducted as fire officials said they did not believe there were any additional victims trapped.
"Right now we feel like we're confident we got everybody out," said Marc Ferman, deputy fire commissioner for the Chicago Fire Department.
Fire officials said the cause of the explosion was not immediately known but an investigation remained ongoing. Peoples Gas and ComEd confirmed both companies were responding to the scene, but it was unclear if gas was involved.
An unknown number of residents were displaced by the explosion and adjacent buildings were evacuated.
"A big boom, doors opening, windows shattering - it was crazy man," Ronald Martin, a resident who has lived in the building for several years, told NBC 5. "I was cooking breakfast, just a usual morning, was getting myself ready for work and it just stopped automatically."
The building is owned by West End LLC, and managed by Urban Alternatives.
“This is a devastating event and we are heartbroken for all of our residents,” Roman Viere, owner of the building, said in a statement. “Our first concern is the health, well-being and safety of our residents. We are doing everything we can to cooperate with emergency services, and we are ready to do whatever we can to support our residents.”
Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot tweeted her thoughts were with the injured and the firefighters working the scene.
"My thoughts are with those who were injured and displaced in the building collapse in the Austin neighborhood. We must also thank the brave men and women of the Chicago Fire Department who are working to abate the dangerous conditions," she wrote.
Central Avenue was shut down in all directions between Madison and Lake Streets due to the incident.
This is a breaking news story. Check back for the latest updates.