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Man who lost home to foreclosure found dead in debris after explosion

A house exploded Sept. 8 in north suburban Gurnee and a man was found dead in the debris. | ABC 7

A man who had lost his home to foreclosure was found dead in the debris of the house after it was destroyed by an explosion last month.

The body, found Sept. 8 in the basement of the home in north suburban Gurnee, has been identified through DNA testing as the 59-year-old resident who was supposed to vacate the home two days later.

A bank had foreclosed on the home in the 36000 block of Streamwood Drive, and it was put up for sheriff’s sale on July 11, according to Lake County Sheriff’s Sgt. Christopher Covelli.

The sale was approved by a judge on August 10, and the new owner took possession August 21. The former owner, Boris Slaskin, had remained in the home throughout the foreclosure process.

The new owner then made an agreement with Slaskin, who agreed to move out on Sept. 10, Covelli said.

But at 6:05 p.m. Sept. 8, firefighters were called to an explosion at the house, according to Gurnee Fire Department Battalion Chief David Douglass. The blast “leveled” the house, and fire spread throughout the rubble.

The fire was extinguished by 8:30 p.m., and firefighters found a body in the basement under the debris about 8:45 p.m., according to Lake County sheriff’s office spokeswoman Sara Balmes. When the house was rendered safe, the body was recovered.

An autopsy was conducted Sept. 11, and preliminary results showed the victim died from smoke inhalation, according to the Lake County coroner’s office. But no dental records were available to assist in identifying the victim, and DNA testing was required.

DNA results take longer than dental records, but on Tuesday, the coroner’s office confirmed the victim was Slaskin.

“Our sincerest condolences go out to Mr. Slaksin’s family,” Coroner Dr. Howard Cooper said in a statement. “We hope this news will help bring closure to this terrible tragedy.”

Six other nearby houses were damaged by debris from the explosion, and a female neighbor suffered a minor injury from debris falling in her home, Balmes said.

The explosion remains under investigation by the sheriff’s office, fire department and state Fire Marshal’s office, Covelli said.