A gas main ruptured by a construction crew Friday exploded as workers were trying to repair it, sending flames shooting hundreds of feet into the air and setting a 15-story senior citizens' complex on fire.
Three people suffered minor injuries as the building was being evacuated. All the residents were out of the building before the explosion, fire department spokesman Mike Cosgrove said.
There was no immediate word of injuries from the fire.
"It's a blazing hell over there," said Frank Trabue, who lives next door to the Chicago Housing Authority building that went up in flames. "I'm nervous. I'm shaking."
The flames were visible from skyscrapers in downtown Chicago, about two miles from the scene, as workers tried to shut off the gas leak that was fueling the fire.
Cosgrove said the explosion happened about 40 minutes after the main was ruptured.