A home in the 900 block of Jackson Boulevard undergoing addition work suffered at least $75,000 in damage after a gas leak exploded last Thursday morning. Fire department personnel were called to the property at 933 Jackson just after 10 a.m. Dec. 21 to deal with a reported gas leak.
They discovered that a gas regulator on the exterior of the house had been damaged by a worker while backing out a truck. The resulting leak sent as much as 50 to 60 pounds per square inch of gas into the home, as opposed to the normal three pounds PSI when regulated.
Fire and police personnel evacuated the two neighboring homes, and were preparing to enter the home to inspect it when the rear of the house exploded. No fire or police personnel were injured.
“We were very fortunate,” said Fire Chief Jim Eggart of the timing of the blast. “We were in the front yard of the home preparing to go inside.”
While most of the fire damage was in the basement, a significant quantity of gas apparently leaked up the north walls of the house before it exploded.
“It was pretty good size,” Eggert said. The blast blew out the rear windows and much of the north side walls and roof.
A preliminary investigation by fire officials indicates that the gas was likely ignited by the water heater in the basement.
Units from Elmwood Park, Oak Park and Forest Park were initially called in to assist with the leak. A box alarm was turned in after the explosion, bringing additional assistance from other towns.