CHICAGO (CBS) – Chicago firefighters respond to an explosion in a building in South Austin.

A Chicago Fire Department spokesman confirmed Tuesday morning an explosion occurred in a four-story apartment building at 5601 W West End Ave.

A total of 10 ambulances were sent to the scene and at least six people were taken to hospitals. Two men were taken to Loyola University Medical Center, two men and a woman were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital, and a woman to West Suburban Medical Center. Fire officials said the three victims were in serious to critical condition. The other injuries were not that serious.

A video of the Chicago Fire Department posted on Twitter shows a large amount of debris on the street in front of the building.

CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl reports, based on the way the debris spread around the building, it was likely the explosion was the result of a natural gas leak.

The explosion occurred on the top floor of a building on the eastern side of the structure, throwing a large amount of bricks and other debris onto the street, damaging at least three cars parked along the curb.

As a result of the explosion, the roof of at least one unit in the building collapsed, and several windows in the building fell out.

Records from building inspections show that the building has not passed the last 12 inspections since 2010, including January 2017 and February 2018 confirming that “defective or dead smoke detectors are not repaired or replaced continuously”.

In a statement, building owner Roman Viere said the explosion happened around 9 a.m.

“This is a devastating event and we have a broken heart for all of our inhabitants,” said Viere. “Our primary concern is the health, well-being and safety of our residents. We are doing everything we can to cooperate with the emergency services and we are ready to do whatever we can to support our residents. ”

According to the Fire Department, both the US Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Chicago Police Department Bomb Unit were on site to assist with the response and investigation.



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