Demolition planned in house explosion in Champaign

Updated 1:15 p.m.

CHAMPAIGN -- Plans are being made to demolish a house where an apparent gas leak caused an explosion Tuesday morning.

Champaign Fire Department spokeswoman Dena Schumacher said a natural gas leak apparently caused the explosion just after 10 this morning at 501- 1/2 West Beardsley Avenue, near the corner of Elm Street and Beardsley. She said there was no fire. The house is unoccupied, she said.

Schumacher said neighbors reported smelling an odor of natural gas in the area and called Ameren. An Ameren employee was working in the rear of the house when it exploded.

The employee was taken to an Urbana hospital. His condition is not known yet. No one else was reported injured.

A Champaign city worker was nearby and helped the injured Ameren employee until an ambulance arrived.

The west side of the house was blown outward. Schumacher said it appears the force of the explosion caused the house to the west to shift on its foundation and blew out a window.

Streets in the area of Beardsley and Elm were blocked and Ameren crews were on the scene.

Schumacher said plans are being worked on to demolish the house

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