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City inspectors examine Chicago building that injured 8 in explosion


City building inspectors have examined and helped stabilize a damaged portion of an Austin apartment building that suddenly exploded on Tuesday, partially collapsing the roof and critically injuring three of the eight people sent to area hospitals.

The city’s Department of Buildings released a statement Wednesday morning saying that city inspectors and contractors surveyed the remnants of the 35-unit building sitting at 5601 W. West End Ave.

“(Building) inspectors examined the building including the areas where the roof and wall had partially collapsed. A DOB contractor then worked to clear and stabilize the affected portion of the building,” according to the statement.

Building officials said all of the building’s residents were able to find alternative housing and that their pets were also safely removed and will be reunited with their families.

Without warning, the explosion occurred at about 9 a.m. Tuesday, just as many residents in the area were starting their day. The blast, believed to have originated in an apartment on an upper floor, collapsed part of the roof and blew out most of the building’s windows, showering brick, glass and dust onto cars and the street below.

At least 10 ambulances were dispatched to the scene, with six transports. Fire officials said that eight people were taken to hospitals. Authorities did not provide an update on the victims’ conditions.

The cause of the explosion and the fate of the building remain unclear. Myk Snider, a spokesperson for building owner Roman Viere, said the owner is still awaiting word from a structural engineer.

“Roman would love to be able to stay and keep providing affordable homes for people,” Snider told the Tribune. “But that relationship with the building is not clear.”

Viere said he was committed to finding new homes for affected residents and had found medium-term apartments for eight of the 31 affected families and had offered new apartments to the 23 other families. Viere said his company, Urban Alternatives, will transfer their rents and deposits to cover expenses at their new homes.

wlee@chicagotribune.com

Twitter @Midnoircowboy





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