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Explosion, Fire, Rock Apartment Building; Four Injured, Owner Missing

September 19, 1988

CHICAGO (AP) _ An explosion and fire at an apartment house today injured at least four people, two critically, and left the owner unaccounted for, authorities said.

The owner was presumed to be in the basement under debris, Fire Department spokesman Tom Sheppard said. ″He was working with a furnace or something down there,″ Sheppard said.

The explosion at the three-story building on the city’s North Side was reported at 10:12 a.m.

″It was a terrible boom,″ said Bengina Slouborg, 91, who lives nearby. ″I thought it was my building. The windows were shaking. The building was shaking. The whole side of that building is blown out.″

Two men were taken critical condition to Cook County Hospital’s burn unit, said Debbie Longstreet, a spokeswoman at St. Francis Hospital in Evanston, where the men first were taken. Two women were treated for hand and foot cuts, she said.

Ed Joyce, a spokesman for Peoples Gas, said the utility shut off gas to the building after the fire was reported.

″There was a fire there last winter,″ said Liz Correa, who lives in the neighborhood and she was once a tenant in the building. ″Now there’s another explosion. It doesn’t sound like a safe building.″

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