IL – An man was severely burned Tuesday in a house explosion.
Ottawa Fire Department received a call at 8:52 a.m. about an explosion and fire with injury at 649 Chambers St.
The man in his 40s was taken to Community Hospital of Ottawa. The city directory and county records list the occupant as 59-year-old Dennis J. Goplin.
Fire was in several different spots in the house at Moore and Chambers streets and was extinguished in about 10 minutes.
“He walked outside on his own,” said Ottawa Fire Chief James Duback.
Duback said the man lives alone and was the only one at home at the time of the explosion.
The cause of the blast is believed to be natural gas, but Duback said the Ottawa Fire Department, Ottawa Police Department and Nicor will investigate. Gas appliances and equipment are being checked. Power and gas were shut off immediately.
Nicor Spokesman Bernard Anderson said crews remained at house several hours trying to find the origin of the explosion.
He said it was an isolated situation and other Ottawa residents should not be concerned. Neighboring homes also were inspected. Anyone smelling gas should not hesitate to call Nicor, Anderson said.
The explosion’s origin may be not be confirmed for several weeks, Anderson said.
Gregg Olson, an off-duty firefighter, was driving by at the time of the explosion. He helped take the victim to CHO with crew members. His Honda Odyssey was parked down the block covered in glass with a window frame on the windshield. Duback said the van sustained significant damage, but Olson was not hurt by the explosion.
The white-sided, one-story house is collapsed, with pictures mounted on the walls visible from the street. The house’s unattached one-car garage was intact.
The house, which Duback estimated is more than 50 years old, is uninhabitable and will be demolished.
Several neighbors and passerby walked through broken glass in neighboring yards to look at the remains of the house.
“It was superloud. It sounded like an earthquake,” said Mike Yoeun, who lives adjacent to the house at 315 Moore St..
Youen and his sister, Phat, were home at the time of the explosion. Mike said when they stepped onto their porch they first saw Olson’s vehicle and thought it was a car accident.
“We saw debris on the car,” he said.
The Youens said they thought the man had occupied the home for about 20 years.
Chip Anderson, who lives two blocks away at 625 State St., said he was home to hear the explosion. He didn’t question what it was; he knew instantly.
“Oh, yeah. I heard it at work,” said Anderson, who is retired from GE Plastics.
“We waited for a little while before we walked down, to stay out of people’s way.”
His wife said she wanted to make sure it wasn’t anyone she knew.