House explosion in southern DeKalb County sends 1 to hospital

A single-family home on Goble Road in Earlville was found to have been leveled in an explosion on Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023, the DeKalb County sheriff said.

EARLVILLE — A home smoldered on the ground and one person was hospitalized after a house explosion in southern DeKalb County Tuesday afternoon, according to the DeKalb County Sheriff’s Office.

The state Fire Marshall and multiple fire departments remained at the scene as the sun set Tuesday, looking to determine what caused the explosion and structure fire. No reason had been given on Tuesday night.

DeKalb County Sheriff Andy Sullivan said his office began receiving calls of a house explosion at 1:39 p.m. Tuesday. A single-family home on Goble Road in Earlville was found to have been leveled.

“We don’t know what the cause of the explosion is, but what I was told is the house was fully engulfed in flames and is probably a total loss,” Sullivan said.

Dave Bend, 72, was farming a field near the intersection of Goble and Bend Roads when the incident occurred. He said a tractor drowned out the noise of the explosion, but his daughter-in-law heard it from their home less than a mile from the scene.

“She thought it sounded like the air conditioning fell out of the window, and at that point she still didn’t know what was happening either,” Bend said. “I didn’t realize what was going on until I could see the black smoke when I was out in the field – and it was like really black for like 30 minutes – and I thought, ‘man it looked like it was up here by my house.’ But then I got to where I could see it wasn’t at my place and I thought, ‘Well, it looks like it’s at the neighbors.’”

Officials said the single-family home was a complete loss, but the other structures on the property – four silos and a shed – were intact without significant damage.

Multiple agencies are on the scene of a house explosion that took place around 1:30 p.m. Tuesday, Oct. 17, 2023, in the 5800 block of Goble Road in rural DeKalb County between Paw Paw and Shabbona.

DeKalb County Chief Deputy Sheriff Jim Burgh said the explosion threw debris into treetops, on top of a shed and some pieces of the home landed about 50 yards way on Goble Road.

“There’s some that hit the road here. And then you can see up on that shed there’s some debris up there, so I’m guessing that’s probably 150 feet or so at least” Burgh said. “I haven’t seen how far back [the debris was strewn] but it kind of looks like the most power was toward the west – that was the front of the house.”

Bend, who was born less than a mile away on Bend road, said he’s a distant relative of the homeowner where the explosion happened.

The sheriff’s office, Illinois Conservation Police and several fire departments – including Waterman, Compton, Mendota, Shabbona, Rochelle and Earlville – responded to the emergency. First responders were still tending to the embers as of 6:45 p.m. Tuesday. Burgh said so much water was trucked in from Paw Paw to fight the blaze that he’s unsure how many fire engines assisted the call.

Sullivan said one person was taken to a hospital for injuries that weren’t life-threatening, however that person has not yet been identified. Bend said he hopes no one was seriously injured.

“From what I’ve heard, there was two of them at the house or in the house, and one of them they took to the hospital I believe,” Bend said. “I don’t know, but I hope she’s going to be OK.”

Burgh said he believes there will be a large support system ready to help the family.

“They’re in good spirits for what they’re going through. They’re a large family in this area,” Burgh said, “so they’ve got a lot of support.”

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