CHICAGO — One of eight people who was hospitalized after an apartment building exploded in the Austin neighborhood has died.

According to the Chicago Fire Department’s Office of Fire Investigation, the source of the explosion was the ignition of natural gas. The company that manages the building released a statement Friday that said “improper use of an appliance” may have caused the explosion.

The CFD on Friday said the “most seriously injured person” from the West Side explosion died from his injuries. The man, identified as Shabron Robinson, 29, had been taken to Loyola Medical Center with extensive burns.


First responders were on the scene at a four-story, 36-unit apartment building just before 9:30 a.m. Tuesday at the 5600 block of West West End Avenue after a portion of the top floor collapsed. At least 10 ambulances were at the location.

The Chicago Fire Department said eight people were transported to area hospitals.

Robinson’s uncle who goes by the name “T,” spoke to WGN News and said his nephew was one of the sweetest people you could ever meet.

“(He was the) sweetest person in the world,” “T” said. “He’d give you the shoes on his feet if he could”

T said he talked to Robinson just about every day. He said Robinson carrier, who when he wasn’t working, loved to wear suits, ride motorcycles and skate.

“I miss him. I’m going to always miss him. I don’t even want to come on Central now because that was the only reason I’d come over here to look up there and talk to him in the window.”

Urban Alternatives, the company managing the complex, said an insurance investigator was informed by the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms that four of the five burners on the stove were fully open in the unit where the explosion originated. 

Peoples Gas released a statement that said, “Our service to the site was working properly. There remains no reason to believe any of our equipment – or any other part of our system — was responsible for the incident. As a reminder, piping and appliances inside the building are the responsibility of building management and/or residents.”

The company managing the apartment complex has offered apartments to all residents impacted. They said it will take some time to determine if the building will be demolished.

The incident is under investigation.