Listen to this article

CHAMPAIGN — A rural Champaign man injured by fire when his house exploded earlier this week was released from the hospital Thursday.

Cornbelt Fire Department Chief John Koller said the 58-year-old man who lived in the 5000 block of Lindsey Road, north of Interstate 57 and west of I-74, sustained burns to his face, arms, hands and the top of his head Sunday afternoon.

Koller said the owner-occupant was checking his gas furnace to see why it had not turned on when there was an explosion that took out the front part of the house and one side. He was able to get out of the burning structure and neighbors and paramedics quickly came to his aid. He was airlifted to Memorial Medical Center in Springfield.

Koller said the Illinois State Fire Marshal investigator who looked into the explosion informed him Thursday that the cause of the fire would be left as undetermined with no suspicious activity.

The house, a duplex, was consumed by flames. Koller estimated the loss at $100,000.

Koller said because of the heavy fire, he didn’t realize initially that the structure was a duplex. He said only one side of it was occupied by the owner, but each side had its own furnace and water heater.

The remains of the structure left after the flames had been put out were pulled down with a backhoe.


Mary Schenk is a reporter covering police, courts and breaking news at The News-Gazette. Her email is, and you can follow her on Twitter (@schenk).