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CHICAGO (CBS 2) A violent explosion has ripped through a barge that was floating freely on the sanitarian ship canal just east of Cicero Avenue overpass on the Southwest Side.
The back half of the barge was consumed by fire. Initial reports indicate that it was a petroleum barge.
Additional debris from the explosion has been blown quite a distance onto the Cicero Avenue bridge. Police worked to close the bridge and clear it rush-hour traffic.
Extreme heat is coming off the barge, which has come to rest mid-channel in close proximity to power lines.
The tug boat that was pushing the barge is trying to relocate the barge or secure it in position.
It is not known what has triggered this massive explosion.
A Level 1 hazardous materials incident has been called. Firefighters are responding from all over the southwest suburbs.
CHICAGO -- A barge carrying oil has apparently exploded in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal on Wednesday, NBC5 reported.
The fire occurred at 44th and Cicero, just north of the Stevenson expressway. Thick flames and black smoke could be seen as a result of the fire. The smoke was spreading out over the Stevenson expressway during rush hour. Southbound Cicero Avenue was shut down all the way to 31st Street, and northbound from just north of Stevenson Bridge. The outbound Stevenson exit to Cicero was shut down.
Only 1 fire truck at bank of canal was able to fight the fire, NBC5 reported.
NBC5 reported that the smoke was not affecting traffic at Midway Airport.
Buddy Hafner, who witnessed the explosion, said
"I was traveling southbound on I-55 approaching Cicero Avenue when just a huge explosion happened off to the north," Hafner said. "The flame in the air had to be 100 feet high, thick black smoke, and we all stopped on I-55 and then a black soot covered our cars."
There is no word of any injuries
Officials are not sure what is burning, but the fire appears to be consuming material onboard. There are concerns the barge is near petroleum storage areas, which could cause numerous environmental problems.
Cicero Avenue is closed near 40th in Chicago. The Stevenson Expressway is not closed but it is moving slowly.
Originally posted by Hellmutt
What does a "A Level 1 hazardous materials incident" mean?
From: NBC5.com - Ford City Mall Reopens For Business After Explosion
Blast's Cause Still Under Investigation
POSTED: 6:07 am CST January 17, 2005
UPDATED: 6:05 pm CST January 17, 2005
CHICAGO -- The Ford City mall has reopened on Monday after a weekend of city inspections.
Now, investigators said they are not sure what caused the explosion last Wednesday.
From: WEEK.com Mall To Re-Open
Posted January 17, 2005 8:33am
CHICAGO (AP) The Ford City Mall on Chicago's southwest side will reopen today, five days after an explosion in the mall parking lot left ten people injured.
Authorities are still trying to determine what caused the explosion, which opened a 100-foot-long crater that was 25-feet deep in areas in the parking lot.
The explosion Wednesday damaged two dozen cars, and forced the city to issue a boil order for more than 200 homes. Lab tests had shown elevated sediment levels in water samples from the area, but that boil order has since been lifted.