The fiery explosion Sunday morning that hurt two people and damaged more than 50 homes "could have been so much worse" according to fire officials and witnesses.

Marengo Fire and Rescue responded to a possible explosion and house fire in the 500 block of 7th Avenue around 4:50 a.m., according a city news release. Upon arrival, crews found four homes on fire and numerous homes in the area "impacted."

From the Chicago Tribune:

"They are just happy to be alive,'' said a family member of the residents who live in the home where the incident began. The homeowners, who were out of state when it occurred, were "too distraught'' to speak as of Sunday night, according to the family member. “Our entire block is just torn up, it looks like a tornado hit it,’’ said John Ettner, who lives across the street with his family three houses away from the home that exploded.Ettner was sleeping when he heard a "loud bang,’’ and went outside to investigate and saw a “fireball,’’ and flames shooting from the roof of the home that exploded.

Imagine just how disoriented most folks are at around 5am on a Sunday, then imagine seeing what neighbors saw once they were jolted awake by a massive explosion:

William Trecker, who lives about eight houses down, said he was awoken by a "loud explosion" about 4:40 a.m. "It blew all the stuff off our walls," Trecker said, adding that a sign above his infant son's head had fallen into his crib from the blast. Not knowing if something had exploded or rammed into his own home, he ran outside and saw smoke, fire and the destruction of several homes. He also saw neighbors helping others climb out of second-floor windows and called 911. "All the houses were catching on fire ... multiple houses. The front doors got blown in, blown out."


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