On Tuesday morning, Chicago emergency personnel responded to a chaotic scene in the South Austin neighborhood, where the top had been blown off of a four-story residential apartment building.
BREAKING: Building explosion on the west side of Chicago. Fire Department on scene requesting five ambulances. Image from SkyCam9 above scene at Washington and Central Ave: pic.twitter.com/9zoxvklb4U
— Steve Grzanich (@SteveGrzanich) September 20, 2022
Firefighters searched through the rubble and found eight injured people, who were rushed to the hospital in a “mass casualty EMS bus.” Three of the victims of the explosion remain in serious to critical condition, according to department officials.
Firefighters were also quick to evacuate the building next to the building where the explosion occurred.
Chicago Fire Department Deputy Chief Marc Ferman said he was “confident” that they had found everyone who was inside the building. He detailed that specialty crews reinforced the upper floors so firefighters could safely “make sure we didn’t leave any victims underneath any of the debris.”
In addition to Chicago police, firefighters, and medical emergency personnel, agents from the Chicago bomb squad and Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also joined the scene.
There has been no indication as to the cause of the explosion.
Residents of the area at home at the time reported hearing a loud explosion.
“I was asleep, and all of a sudden there was a loud booming,” resident Lawrence Lewis told reporters. “I woke up to my windows gone, my front door blown open. I just saw smoke, and I ran out of the house.”
“I’m shook up right now,” he added.
Otis Manning was across the street when the explosion occurred.
“My heart almost shot out of my body,” said Manning. “I saw windows busted open, I saw debris.”
Video footage shows the extent of the damage, with much of the top floor reduced to rubble and bricks blown into the streets and on top of cars.