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Explosion, extra-alarm fire destroy Northbrook home, damage 2 others

An American Red Cross volunteer at the scene of a fire that destroyed a home Jan. 16 in Northbrook. | American Red Cross

One house was destroyed and two others were heavily damaged in an explosion and subsequent two-alarm fire Wednesday morning in north suburban Northbrook.

A neighbor called 911 just after 6:20 a.m. to report the explosion and fire at a home in the 2500 block of Melanie Lane, according to Northbrook Fire Department officials. An off-duty firefighter on his way to work was the first to arrive and saw a large fire engulfing the home.

The fire had spread to two adjacent houses by the time crews arrived, Fire Chief Andy Carlson said. It was under control within about an hour and a half.

Multiple people reported hearing an explosion before the fire started, but the validity of those reports and the cause of any possible explosion remained under investigation, Carlson said.

All three homes, which were about 20 to 30 feet apart, were considered uninhabitable Wednesday, fire officials said. All of the residents were able to escape on their own, and no injuries were reported.

The American Red Cross said it sent three volunteers to the scene to offer assistance to the affected families.

Carlson said all of the residents were able to find places to stay with friends or relatives.

The Illinois State Fire Marshal’s office is investigating.