A man has died days after an explosion and building collapse in Chicago’s Austin neighborhood led to a massive emergency response, street closures and numerous evacuations.
The man was the most seriously injured of the eight people hospitalized after the explosion, Chicago fire officials said Friday, and had been taken to Loyola University Medical Center “with extensive burns.”
Additional information about the man was not immediately available.
The collapse happened just after 9 a.m. Tuesday at West Washington Boulevard and North Central Avenue. 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.
Fire officials said Tuesday afternoon that 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.
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 as fire officials said they did not believe there were any additional victims trapped.
Fire officials said the cause of the explosion was not 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.
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 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.