WGN-TV reports that a 25-year-old man was injured in Chicago’s Lawndale neighborhood during a construction accident. The construction worker was performing rehab work with a cutting torch which may have caused an explosion.
The Chicago Fire Department received reports of the explosion and fire around 5:30 p.m. on Saturday at the 1800 block of S. Kostner Avenue. The man sustained serious burn injuries and was rushed to Mount Sinai Hospital in critical condition. Word of his recovery progress has not been reported.
The fire severely damaged the strip mall where the man was working. The store front where explosion happened collapsed. Images of the firefighting effort show about a dozen firefighters huddled around the completely charred store front. The walls of the store are mostly gone but the fire seems not to have badly damaged the rest of the stores in the mall.
It is unclear why the explosion was caused by a workplace safety violation or a gas leak at the strip mall. Burns like the type sustained by the 25-year-old construction worker are common in Chicago and often result in substantial workers’ compensation claims. Other common causes of construction site burn injuries include steam from heating units, chemical spills and electrical shock from faulty wiring.
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