Authorities in Lake County, Illinois said they recovered a badly burned body from the ruins of a home that exploded in Gurnee, Illinois Friday evening when a natural gas pipeline ruptured.
Lake County Illinois authorities said they will have to use dental and DNA forensics to positively determine the identity of the person who died in the natural gas explosion, which completely leveled the home and damaged other homes nearby.
Gurnee Fire Department Battalion Chief James Pellitteri said authorities who responded to the explosion did not initially think anyone was inside the suburban home but as they worked through the debris they found the charred remains. On Monday, authorities said that the victim was male.
Chicago’s Daily Herald talked with several neighbors in the Grandwood Park community where the explosion occurred. Some of the residents in nearby homes said they smelled gas in the area and that the odor grew progressively worse Friday. It’s not known if the apparent gas leak had been reported to 911 or the utility company.
The explosion, which people as far as six miles away said they felt, badly damaged at least two other homes. The ceiling collapsed in on a home across the street. A 16-year-old girl and her dog who were both at home at the time escaped without injury. Debris from the destroyed house covered the neighborhood.
Deputies with the Lake County Sheriff’s Office were first to arrive at the scene shortly after 6 p.m. They found the home leveled and completely engulfed in flames, the Chicago Tribune reported, citing the Sherrif’s office.
The main gas line was shut off and Gurnee Fire Department firefighters were able to extinguish the blaze completely by 8:30 p.m.
Lake County officials said that the natural gas explosion remains under investigation.