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Chicago fire crews respond to building collapse in South Austin, explosion in Washington, Central;  at least 8 injured


CHICAGO (WLS) — Chicago firefighters were responding to a structural collapse caused by an apparent explosion in south Austin on Tuesday morning. Several people were injured.

CFD tweeted just after 9:20 a.m. that five ambulances had been requested at Washington Street and Central Avenue. The number was later increased to 10.

Chicago Fire Department said at least eight people were injured in the incident, three of them serious to critical.

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One person was burned.

Two male victims were taken to Loyola University Medical Center; one was in critical condition and the other remained stable.

Another man and a woman were taken to Mount Sinai Hospital. They also remained stable.

WATCH: CFD responds to South Austin building collapse

Another stable female victim was taken to West Suburban Medical Center, and another critical male victim was taken to Mount Sinai, Chicago Fire Department said.

A stable male victim and a critical male victim were also taken to Stroger Hospital.

CFD spokesman Larry Merrit said they believe everyone was found around 10:30 a.m.

A Chicago Fire Department spokesperson said there was an explosion, but it’s unclear what caused it.

Chopper 7HD flew over the scene as bricks from the building could be seen stacked on cars parked nearby. Firefighters could also be seen entering the building.

Line inspection records of the building that exploded reviewed by the I-Team reveal a history of inspection failures and alleged code violations.

The building failed when it was last inspected in February 2020. Inspectors cited six alleged code violations, including “dryer vents – missing shutters” for the gas clothes dryers, washed-out mortar on some of the parapet walls, and trash and debris in the back yard.

Records reveal that the building has a history of failed inspections. It also failed municipal inspections in July 2019, twice in 2018, twice in 2017, and once in 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, and 2010.

Records show the building was the subject of an administrative hearing in 2019 and 2013, but it’s unclear at this time what those hearings were for or how they were resolved.

The I-Team requested more details about the Buildings Department violations and hearings.

Peoples Gas crews responded to the scene.

A company spokesperson said there was no reason to believe the cause was related to the gas or any of their equipment.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is on the scene, as is the CPD bomb unit.

In a statement, Mayor Lori Lightfoot said: “My thoughts are with those who were injured and displaced in a building collapse in the Austin neighborhood. We must also thank the brave men and women of the service Chicago Fire Department who are working to reduce the dangerous I am closely monitoring events and the Chicago Fire Department (CFD) and Department of Buildings (DOB) are on scene during the collapse We will provide updates update as the situation evolves.

This is a developing story; check back with ABC7 Chicago for updates.

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