Photos Show Aftermath of Building Explosion, Collapse in Chicago's Austin Neighborhood That Injured 8

An explosion led to a building collapse Tuesday on Chicago's West Side, leaving at least eight people injured

NBCUniversal Media, LLC

New photos reveal the aftermath of an explosion and building collapse that left at least eight people injured Tuesday in Chicago's Austin neighborhood.

The collapse led to a massive emergency response, street closures and numerous evacuations as officials searched for anyone possibly trapped in the debris.

Fire officials said Tuesday 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.

David Howard

The collapse happened just after 9 a.m. Tuesday at West Washington Boulevard and North Central Avenue, fire officials Tweeted at the time of the incident.

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.

David Howard
A building collapsed Tuesday morning on Chicago’s West Side after a nearby explosion, and fire officials requested a mass casualty ambulance-bus to assist after multiple injuries were confirmed and a search continued for people who may still be inside the building.

More than 130 emergency personnel responded to the scene and final searches were conducted Tuesday.

"Right now, we feel like we're confident we got everybody out," Marc Ferman, deputy fire commissioner for the Chicago Fire Department, said earlier.

David Howard

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 following the incident.

David Howard

"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.

David Howard

“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.”

David Howard

Chicago Mayor Lori Lightfoot Tweeted on Tuesday that 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.

David Howard

Central Avenue was shut down in all directions between Madison and Lake Streets due to the incident.

Contact Us