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Local News

2 airlifted, residents evacuated after Homer Glen explosion

HOMER GLEN – Lisa Petty was on her way home when her father called to warn her that there were road closures in their Homer Glen neighborhood because of a gas leak.

Then she smelled the gas.

“It was very strong,” she said.

The leak caused a home to explode Thursday afternoon in the 14100 block of Parker Road, left two injured and affected the residents of about 12 to 16 homes.

The people hurt in the explosion – a father and daughter – were taken to Silver Cross Hospital in New Lenox and then airlifted to Loyola University Medical Center in Maywood to be treated for burns, which authorities do not believe are life-threatening, Will County Sheriff's Office spokeswoman Kathy Hoffmeyer said.

Homer Glen Village Hall was filled with evacuated residents Thursday evening, who sat, talked and ate pizza provided by the Red Cross while waiting for clearance to return home.

At that time, crews were working to isolate the gas flow and stop the leak.

Nicor issued a statement at 3:31 a.m. Friday, which stated that the leak had been located and stopped. About 23 customers remained without gas service at that time.

Later Friday morning, Nicor stated it expected to restore service to most of the houses by sometime in the afternoon.

"We are still investigating the events that led to yesterday's incident," Nicor stated in the most recent statement.

Officials first learned something might be wrong about 1:30 p.m. Thursday, when firefighters received a call about a gas problem at 143rd Street and Parker Road, said Todd Fonfara, deputy chief of the Northwest Homer Fire and Ambulance Protection District.

Nicor was called to the area about 2 p.m., and authorities had already begun evacuations when the home exploded at 4:12 p.m. Fonfara said the home was a total loss.

Roads were closed around the home, and by about 8:30 p.m. Thursday, the area of 143rd Street and Golden Oak Drive remained shut down, Fonfara said.

The Red Cross had six volunteers assisting displaced people at about 8:30 p.m. at the Village Hall, volunteer Rachael Stevens said. Stevens said that more were expected to arrive as the night continued. The Red Cross also brought food, coffee and a heating station to responders at the scene of the explosion Thursday.

About eight area first-response agencies assisted, Fonfara said.

A GoFundMe campaign has been started for the residents of the home where the explosion occurred, and can be accessed at www.gofundme.com/homerglenhomeexplosion.

“I'm relieved that it wasn't my home, my parents,” Petty said, “but I feel very concerned for the gentleman and his daughter.”

Petty added that as the night continued, she would consider going to stay with family in Lockport.

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