Person injured in Chicago West Side building explosion has died

A person who was critically injured in an explosion in an Austin apartment building this week has died, the Chicago Fire Department confirmed to the Tribune Friday.

Of the eight people sent to area hospitals following the explosion, his injuries were the most serious, the department said. He was transported to Loyola Medical Center after the blast.

“He had burns over 90% of his body,” Fire Department spokesperson Larry Langford told the Tribune.

Langford said the department learned of his death Thursday.

The explosion occurred around 9 a.m. Tuesday at 5601 W. West End Ave., leading to the partial collapse of the four-story building.

An insurance cause and origin investigator said the explosion was caused by “improper use of an appliance,” according to a statement from Myk Snider, a spokesperson for building owner, Roman Viere.

According to the statement, the 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.”

But a spokesperson for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Chicago Field Division told the Tribune that the investigation is ongoing and that ATF has not made “any statements to anyone” in regards to a cause.

“The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives Chicago Field Division has not made a determination and has not released any statements in this case and will continue to work with the Chicago Fire Department’s Office of Fire Investigation,” Public Affairs Specialist Kimberly Nerheim said in an email.

City building inspectors stabilized the building Wednesday, and the cause of the explosion remains unclear. At the time of the blast, 31 units were occupied, according to Viere.

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