Mayor Ostenburg Releases Statement on Area B House Explosion

Mayor John Ostenburg
Mayor John Ostenburg (PHOTO SUPPLIED)

Park Forest, IL–(ENEWSPF)– Mayor John Ostenburg released a statement regarding the home explosion on Bailey Road:

As you may be aware from news reports, an explosion occurred at mid-day Tuesday on Bailey Road in the Birch Street Townhomes Cooperative area of the northeast part of the Village of Park Forest.  

While the two residences at the duplex were completely destroyed, we are fortunate that no serious injury was suffered by anyone in the area. Three persons were transported to the hospital by Park Forest paramedics for what were described at the time as relatively minor injuries. Two of those persons were residents of Bailey Street, one of whom resided in the building where the explosion occurred. The third injured person was a truck driver who was parked in front of the structure at the time of the explosion. Workers who were engaged in replacement of water mains along the road were instrumental in helping the resident of the building to escape the burning structure.

I reside only a short distance from where the explosion took place and heard the loud "boom" when it occurred. Within minutes, my wife and I were able to see thick black smoke and large flames shooting into the air above trees. I immediately left my residence and rushed to the scene, but already Park Forest Fire Department personnel were at work under the direction of Chief Robert Wilcox and his command staff, treating the victims and keeping the fire from spreading to nearby buildings. While members of the Park Forest Police Department controlled traffic and kept onlookers at a safe distance, fire personnel got the fire under control and made sure that surrounding buildings were kept safe. Police Chief Thomas Fleming and members of his command staff also were on hand, as was Village Manager Tom Mick. Also present at the scene was Roderick Ysaguirre, assistant village engineer.

Since it appeared that natural gas was involved in the explosion, representatives of NICOR also were on the scene and checked neighboring residences to be certain that gas leaks were not occuring elsewhere along Bailey Road. Police assisted the NICOR representatives in the home inspections. It is anticipated that the state fire marshall will undertake an investigation of the causes of the explosion.

Jason Miller, communications director for the Village of Park Forest, provided information to area media, thus assuring that accurate details were reported by radio and television reporters. He also prepared an information sheet for residents of the area which was distributed door-to-door later in the day.

For the second time within only a few weeks — the first incident being the major snowstorm that hit our area — Park Forest personnel responded to an emergency in a highly professional and effective manner. It is comforting to know that residents of our community are so well served in times of need.