ROSCOE, Ill. (WTVO) — A Roscoe family is without a home after a unit of an apartment building exploded early Sunday morning.
Firefighters were called to Clearwing Lane at approximately 12:20 a.m. and reported seeing smoke and flames coming from the four-unit structure.
Officials found evidence of an explosion that was said to have caused significant structural damage.
A man and two children were rescued from the apartment, and the rest of the units were empty.
The Illinois State Fire Marshal is investigating the cause of the fire.
Harlem-Roscoe Fire Chief John Bergeron said answers wouldn’t be likely until the building has been stabilized, to allow investigators to work.
“It could be a gas leak, whether they’re doing construction in there or new appliances, or a stove left on, things like that we just don’t know right now,” Bergeron said.
Nicor Gas crews were on the scene on Monday, checking on neighboring homes.
While no detectable gas leaks were found, representatives said they were still conducting additional testing.
Bergeron said gas leaks can be tricky to identify, but said utility companies put an additive into gas to give it a smell comparable to rotten eggs.
“They put mercaptan which is a real foul odor of the gas, so once you smell that you’ll know it’s the gas,” he said.
Aside from the smell, Bergeron said it is important to pay attention to a home’s gas-powered appliances.
“Make sure the knobs on the stoves are off. Any furnace, have that serviced, Any fireplaces, if they’re gas service them. Every year, it should be a good idea to service all the appliance sets to make sure there’s no leaks. And if you do smell the gases, call 911 and evacuate the structure,” he warned.
Bergeron also warned that in the winter months, carbon monoxide becomes a more prevalent problem as homes are sealed up against the cold, and recommended annual checks of detectors and smoke alarms.