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Explosion Rips Through House In Auburn-Gresham Neighborhood

Normal Avenue Explosion

An explosion ripped through this house in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood early Monday. (Credit: CBS)

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UPDATED 07/23/12 – 3:47 p.m.

CHICAGO (CBS) — An explosion Monday morning left a house on the verge of collapsing to the ground in the Auburn-Gresham neighborhood.

As CBS 2’s Kris Habermehl reports, the single-story brick home at 9010 S. Normal Ave. was in ruins after the explosion around 9 a.m. The outside wall was blown out, and the load bearing walls were on the brink of falling down.

The explosion also spurred a fire that affected buildings on either side.

After putting out the fire, fire crews were unable to go inside to conduct a primary search because the house was too unstable. Instead, firefighters used a robotic camera to search inside a home.

No one was found inside, and no injuries were reported.

Neighbors told CBS 2 the house was vacant. The neighbors said they were smelling gas for a couple of days.

A fire department spokesperson said Peoples Gas had previously shut off gas to the home, but someone apparently tampered with the gas meter to turn on the gas illegally.

When Peoples Gas crews arrived on the scene on Monday, gas was flowing to the home, so their crews shut it off.

Following the explosion, the house resembled a doll house, with the board joints visible. It was clearly unsafe to be inside.

Fire investigators and Peoples Gas technicians were investigating at the scene Monday afternoon.