By Adam Sacasa
The McDonough County Voice
Wed Nov 25, 2009, 03:09 PM CST

Bushnell, Ill. -
A Bushnell home was destroyed Wednesday afternoon by an explosion caused by a gas leak.

The home at 519 Washington St. was leveled by the explosion at about 2:30 p.m. The blast also caught the house next door on fire.

The occupant of the house that initially exploded was Bradley Thompson, who was outside with his dogs at the time.

Thompson’s house was nearly unrecognizable Wednesday afternoon as several area fire departments battled the resulting blaze.

The fire spread next door leaving a large crater in the roof of that home. It was not known if the occupants of the neighboring house were at home when the fire started.

No injuries were reported as a result of the blast or fire, but an ambulance was called to the scene for a firefighter reportedly having chest pains.

Thompson’s grandfather, Robert Thompson, a former fireman, was across town and heard the explosion but didn’t know what it was at the time.

Others in Bushnell, blocks away from the home, heard the explosion and felt their windows shake.

“He knew he smelled gas and he called the city but that’s as far as it went till it exploded,” said Robert.

Thompson’s wife was believed to be at work at the time.

Police on the scene said the blast was caused by a gas leak.

Houses on the gas line and sewer system were also evacuated as well as those at least one block away on either side according to Bushnell Police Chief Merv Hilliard.

At about 6:30 p.m. police issued a notice that those evacuated residents were being allowed back into their homes.

Firefighters from Macomb, Emmet-Chalmers, Good Hope and Adair fire departments were called in to help the Bushnell-Prairie City Fire Department battle the two fires.

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