10 injured after explosion at South Side water plant

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CHICAGO -- Ten people were seriously injured Thursday after an explosion at a water reclamation plant on Chicago’s South Side.

Authorities say it may have been caused by a buildup of methane gas at the Calumet Water Reclamation Plant, located at 400 E. 130th St., near the Little Calumet River.

The Chicago Fire Department said two of the 10 victims had to be rescued from the rubble after the explosion caused a section of the building's roof to collapse
Those injured were in the facility’s “sludge concentration building”’ for sewage treatment at the time of the explosion.

Eight of workers made it out and were taken to the hospital. Firefighters worked to rescue the other two workers. The first victim was found within 20 minutes of rescuers arriving on scene.

“The first individual was removed quickly,” Commissioner Jose Santiago said. “But we had a problem. We had another individual that was buried and entombed.”

More than 70 people, including special teams, spent two hours and dug six feet down and tunneled 40 feet into the concrete rubble to find the man.

He was pinned under a heavy concreate beam that had fallen on his leg.

He was pulled out and he was flown to the hospital. He has a broken jaw and a fractured leg, officials said. But there were no amputations.

The official cause of the explosion is under investigation. The treatment plant will continue to operate.

Authorities say there is no threat to public safety.

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