At least four people were reportedly transported to hospitals Friday night when a massive, ground-shaking explosion occurred in the suburbs north of Chicago.
There were no immediate reports of fatalities following the blast, which occurred around 9 p.m. local time in the Gurnee and Waukegan area, roughly 45 miles north of Chicago, near an intersection where an emissions testing facility is located.
Emergency response personnel quickly advised the public to stay away from the area.
The blast occurred in a building directly across from the testing station, a witness told the Chicago Tribune.
“It was leveled,” Megan Hener, who lives six blocks from the site, told the newspaper.
“It shook our house and shook my insides,” she added.
Illinois state Rep. Joyce Mason, D-Gurnee, wrote on Facebook that employees of an unspecified business were inside the building at the time of the explosion, citing information she said she received from Waukegan Mayor Sam Cunningham.
Mason added that first-responders “expect to be working most of the night.”
A witness told Chicago’s WLS-TV that she “heard a large boom” and saw “debris and sparks flying everywhere.” As she drove closer, she saw a building “engulfed in flames” and heard another “large boom.”
The Lake County Sheriff’s Office urged everyone to stay out of the area to allow first-responders to conduct operations.
“We are aware of a very loud explosion sound and ground shaking in the Gurnee area. We are working to determine the cause,” the sheriff’s office tweeted.
The explosion was heard and felt across Lake County, the Tribune reported.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.