House explosion kills 2 in Chicago suburb

By: AP
By: AP

FRANKFORT, Ill. (AP) -- An explosion destroyed a house early Saturday and the bodies of the elderly couple who occupied the home were found in the wreckage, authorities said. Seven other homes were destroyed.

The cause of the explosion was under investigation, said Richard Caragol, a Nicor Inc. natural gas company spokesman. Will County Coroner Patrick O'Neil identified the dead couple as Clyde and Luella Reils, of Frankfort, located about 25 miles southwest of Chicago.

Frankfort Mayor Jim Holland said the couple were longtime residents who had children and grandchildren living throughout Chicago's south suburbs.

"They were well-known and well-respected in our community," Holland said. "There is a lot of grieving right now."

Luella Reils was 87. O'Neil said Clyde Reils was 89; Frankfort police gave his age as 88.

Holland said the explosion reduced the couple's home to rubble. Suzy Turnbull, a disaster team coordinator with the American Red Cross of Greater Chicago, said the scene of the blast resembled the destruction sometimes wrought by a tornado.

"Rooftops surrounding the explosion site are covered with debris," Turnbull said. "The house looks like a tornado tore through it."

Authorities reported no other injuries from the blast. At least seven other houses were left uninhabitable and homes flanking the Reils sustained substantial structural damage, Holland said.

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