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Romeoville Natural Gas Explosion Happened To Same Homes 17 Years Ago

(CBS) -- A massive fireball lit up the skies, and left two families homeless.

The house explosion in Romeoville rocked a neigborhood to its core. And as CBS 2's Marissa Bailey reports, this isn't the first time.

Tonight the Red Cross is also helping 25 people displaced after this explosion. It was scary and for some living in the neighborhood, the explosion was déjà vu.

A quiet Tuesday night in Romeoville jolted into chaos.

Thankfully, no one was inside the homes at the time, but officials say the cause was a natural gas explosion.

"We did have a crew respond to this location earlier in the day after receiving a report of damage to a two inch natural gas facility,"Joe Delreal of Nicor Gas said.

Investigators say a cable crew accidentally damaged a natural gas pipe and called Nicor to fix it. And that's when it all went wrong.

And this is the second explosion this family has been through, Lynn Roan, a resident of one of the homes, recalls.

"We had another one in '99."

On April 30, 1999, a natural gas explosion happened in the same row of houses, from the same natural gas line.

"The whole neighborhood blew up," Roan said. She was out of her house for 13 months after that one. Scars are still visible on the wall.

She says it felt like déjà vu for her seeing you the explosion. "Yes it did, yes it did because you don't expect it twice."

Yet Roan says she no longer feels completely safe. "Yeah I have to be honest I did until yesterday. Now I'm questioning it."

It could take days to find an official cause of the explosion. But a source tells CBS 2 blueprints provided by Nicor to the cable company didn't show the natural gas lines that were ultimately damaged in this incident.

The source also says Nicor crimped both ends of the damaged line, but somehow natural gas was still leaking through.



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