Explosion and Fire Hit Chicago's Jewelers Row

April 2, 2002

Explosion and Fire Hit Chicago's Jewelers Row

Nine people were injured April 1 when a propane tank ruptured on the sixth floor of the Mallers Building in the heart of Chicago's Jewelers Row. The 91-year-old building, which is filled with jewelers, shook when the blast occurred about 4:30 in the afternoon.

Building inhabitants told the Chicago Sun-Times their worries were intensified by memories of Sept. 11 and by the escalating Israeli-Palestinian conflict, since many of the jewelers who work there are Jewish. Investigators still aren't sure what caused the propane tank to explode.

Several victims received treatment at local hospitals for burns and smoke inhalation, though none of the injuries were life-threatening. The fire was the second the building and its inhabitants have experienced in recent years. In August 2000, a gas meter exploded, causing a fire inside two jewelry shops.

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