Champaign House Has to Come Down After Explosion

Published 01/24 2012 07:43PM

Updated 01/25 2012 08:56AM

CHAMPAIGN - An explosion rocked a house off it's foundation Tuesday morning and injured an Ameren employee.  The fire department said the house is going to have to come down.

The Champaign Fire Department showed up to a house explosion at 501 1/2 W. Beardsley Ave. at 10:08 a.m.  The large boom blasted all the windows in the house out, and shifted the frame of the house, causing a safety hazard.

"I was laying in my bed and that's when I heard it, I thought maybe it was somebody upstairs in my house that fell or moving furniture I didn't know it was a house until everyone in the house came yelling and screaming talking about the house blew up," explained Angela Fricks who lives across the street.

The front yard was covered with glass, brick and other debris from the explosion.  The home was a vacant home that was up for sale.

According to the fire departments spokesperson, Dena Schamacker, neighbors reported smelling gas.  An Ameren worker went to the area to find the problem.  They were in the backyard when the blast happened.

"I'm patching holes and I drove by I heard a big boom explosion when I went in front of the house I stopped by truck called for an ambulance," explained Jeff Kalk, who works for the city.  "I ran out back there was a guy laying on the ground and I helped him."

Ameren said the employee was taken to Carle.  Kalk said the person had burns on their hands and face.

Crews worked on securing the house for about an hour and said when they arrived on the scene the house was electrically charged.

The owner, Eva Mroz, said the house had been up for sale for about a year.  They had just finished re-painting the outside and also putting in new windows.

"Oh boy, it took a city worker talking to me for a few minutes to calm me down I was so freaked out I don't even know how to describe it," said Mroz, in response to finding out what happened.

She lives down the street and said she didn't hear anything because she was sleeping.  Mroz said she's working with her insurance company to figure everything out.

"I was trying to get new windows painting it to try and rent it or sell it but now I don't have to worry about renting or selling it because I cant' do anything with it," said Mroz.

The Champaign Fire Department said it's working on the demolition process. Tuesday night a fence surrounded the home to keep it safe.  The home to the West of the house that exploded was also damaged.  Firefighters said no one was home

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