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TBO
12-17-2004, 10:54
Officers Rescue Blast Victim After Hearing Screams
Explosion Catapults Man From Lynwood House

LYNWOOD, Ill. -- A man in his 40s was reportedly in critical condition Friday morning, with second-degree burns over 60 percent of his body, after an apparent gas explosion at a house in south suburban Lynwood, Ill.

The explosion occurred at about 12:45 a.m., at 20090 S. Torrence Ave., according to NBC5.

The blast leveled the home -- a one-story, two-bedroom ranch house -- and launched the victim out of the building, according to Lynwood Fire Department Chief Rich Eriks.

"The whole house is gone. It was completely involved in flames when we got to it," Eriks said. "There's nothing left of it," he said.

The victim apparently was the only person in the house at the time of the explosion.

Two police officers who arrived before firefighters at the scene said they heard screams for help from the back of the home. The victim was trapped in debris, but the officers found him by following the screams.

"We heard so much screaming at the back of the house ... (we) worked to the back of the house," Officer David DePaolo told NBC5. "We found the victim in the back. He had ... burns on his body. To get him away from the fire -- Sgt. Smith pulled up. The three of us loaded him up on a piece of wood we found back by the garage and moved him to a safer area, away from the fire."

The victim was airlifted from the scene to Loyola University Medical Center, in Maywood.

The state fire marshal is investigating the explosion, which may have been fueled by the natural gas supplied to the home, Eriks said.

Nicor Gas workers had to dig through the wreckage to shut off the gas after the fire was put out, Eriks said.

Dorothy Foster, of Nicor, told Tutman that the gas was cut off to only the house that exploded, but workers were checking for potential problems in the surrounding area.


;P

DepChief
12-17-2004, 19:03
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