5 rescued, 3 injured after explosive device thrown into Evanston home

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EVANSTON, Ill. — Three people, including a pregnant woman, were injured after a fire and explosion in suburban Evanston.

Firefighters responded to a fire at a home on the 1400 block of Brown Avenue around midnight Wednesday. When crews arrived, the home was filled with smoke. The flames were put out and crews rescued five people who were trapped inside.

Three people were treated and released with minor injuries.

The official cause of the fire is unknown. For the family who lost their belongings, they say they are terrified but also grateful.

“I’m thankful we’re here and alive. I’m thankful we made it out,” said resident Aarynae Morales. “It was like a movie. It was unexplainable.”

Morales, who is six months pregnant, says she was sleeping around 11:30 Tuesday night when someone threw an explosive device into her family’s first-floor apartment.

“As of what my son’s father told me, he heard someone try to break-in and after that, he heard an explosion,” Morales said. “First, he looked down, then he heard an explosion. He [saw] the bomb and after that, he went black.” 

Morales adds that the explosion device went through the window of her son’s room. Fortunately, the 3-year-old was sleeping on the couch in the living room.

“One side of the couch was burning as I was grabbing him,” Morales said.

According to Morales, she says couldn’t see anything. The smoke was too thick and the front door was stuck. The family of three had to climb out of a window with help from neighbors. 

“We hear the girl, she was screaming ‘she needs help’ so neighbors [ran] to help her,” said neighbor Lupi Calderon.

Two men in an upstairs unit also made it out OK. Evanston police continue to investigate along with the state fire marshal and the ATF.

“To have an explosion be associated with a residence is unusual. It is significant and it is of concern,” said Evanston Police Commander Ryan Glew.

A motive remains a mystery to a family.

“We came out with bruises, but we’re alive and breathing and that’s what matters. That’s what matters. I don’t know who would do something so terrible and throw something in a kids’ room clear as day,” Morales said. “There are snowmen on the windows.”

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