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By Jackie Kostek
/ CBS Chicago
CHICAGO (CBS) — A woman died in a house explosion late Wednesday morning in New Chicago, Indiana.
The explosion happened shortly before 11:30 a.m. at a home in the 600 block of East 29th Avenue in New Chicago, according to NIPSCO.
The cause is still under investigation but the fire chief says they’re investigating it as a possible natural gas explosion and that an “enormous amount” of natural gas would have had to build up to set off an explosion that large. @cbschicago
New Chicago Fire Chief Joe Eakins said the cause of the explosion is under investigation, but it was possibly the result of a natural gas leak.
Neighbors described smelling natural gas over the past couple of days.
“What that tells me is there was an enormous amount of probably – like I said, it’s under investigation – but an enormous amount of gas buildup within the structure; and I have no idea what triggered the explosion,” Eakins said.
Neighbors described hearing two explosions, the first so powerful it shook homes a block away.
Two neighbors said they tried to rescue the woman who was inside the home at the time after the explosion. They said they ran toward the house as it went up in flames. One neighbor said he heard the woman screaming for help.
“Imagine a hot, sunny day, but like 10 times hotter,” said neighbor Emiliano Casas. “It was one of those types of heat. The flames, I mean I walked out and took the video because it was burning high. There was glass everywhere. It’s just crazy how it happened.”
Part of the house had collapsed when that neighbor got there. He said he went inside, and had the woman by the hands, but her body was under kitchen appliances, wedged between a stove and the refrigerator. He was able to get her about halfway out when a piece of wood fell on them. He said he was trying to find something to lift the stove and fridge, but the fire “took up quick.”
That neighbor said he was devastated, and wished he could have done more to save the woman.
Fire crews from three area departments worked to contain the flames from the resulting fire, but the house was a total loss.
NIPSCO crews were at the scene Wednesday afternoon to assist in the investigation, and make sure other homes are safe.
Jackie Kostek is a reporter and anchor, covering both news and sports for CBS2 Chicago
First published on November 23, 2022 / 2:48 PM
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