(CBS) — Several north suburban communities were rocked by a late-night explosion.
Ground zero sits in an upscale subdivision in Long Grove.
CBS 2’s Courtney Gousman found several families were forced out of their homes and dozens of others sustained damage.
If you didn’t know better, you’d swear a tornado ripped through this gated community, destroying dozens of million-dollar homes.
“When we saw the debris falling down we thought a plane had exploded,” says Sunit Jain, who lives in neighboring subdivision.
But those who live in the Royale Melbourne subdivision and golf course are now cleaning up from what appears to be an explosion caused by a natural gas leak.
One home was leveled, and at least 50 others were damaged.
“The incident actually started out as a report of a house on fire, so the occupant was home at the time,” says Jeff Steingart, chief of the Countryside Fire Protection District.
The woman, who lived there with her husband, called 911 to report the fire.
“Fate got her to the right place at the right time,” Steingart said.
That’s because within seconds of that 9-1-1 call, her house exploded, just as she was making her way to a neighbor’s home.
About a dozen families were displaced.
The explosion was felt miles away, from Palatine to Glencoe, and even those in neighboring subdivisions sustained damage.
Firefighters say North Shore gas crews were investigating reports of a gas odor about an hour prior to the explosion.
Also investigating are the Illinois state fire marshal’s office and the ATF.
It’s expected to take weeks to clean up the scene.