The explosion at the 36-unit apartment building in the South Austin neighborhood occurred shortly before 9:30 a.m., officials said. At least 10 ambulances were on the scene, according to the Chicago Fire Department, which requested help searching the structure.
Photographs and video posted on the Chicago Fire Department’s Twitter page showed that much of the top floor of the four-story brick apartment building on the city’s West Side was destroyed by the blast. Scores of bricks and other debris had fallen onto the street, crushing at least one car and seriously damaging two others.
Several residents said they were home when the explosion rocked the entire building.
“I was asleep, and all of a sudden there was a loud booming,” Lawrence Lewis, who was asleep at the time, told WGN television. “I woke up to my windows gone, my front door blown open. I just saw smoke, and I ran out of the house. I was asleep. I’m shook up right now.”
A cause had not yet been determined. The Fire Department said in a series of tweets that the Chicago police bomb squad and agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were on their way as well.
Conditions of three of the people who were injured ranged from serious to critical, the Chicago Fire Department said.