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Man injured in Chicago apartment blast dies in hospital, authorities determine cause of explosion

Authorities determined that the explosion was caused by "an ignition of natural gas," although the circumstances that led to it are still unknown.
Credit: WLS

CHICAGO — A man who was one of eight people injured in an explosion that tore through the top floor of a Chicago apartment building has died, and authorities have determined the blast resulted from an “ignition of natural gas."

Chicago fire officials said Friday that the “most seriously injured person” had succumbed to injuries. The fire department did not release the name of that person, who had been taken to Loyola Medical Center after Tuesday's explosion.

The Cook County Medical Examiner's office identified the dead man as Shabron Robinson, 29, of Chicago. Department spokeswoman Brittany Hill said Friday afternoon that an autopsy had not yet been performed on Robinson.

Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford told the Chicago Tribune that the blast victim “had burns over 90% of his body" and the department had learned Thursday that he had died.

The fire department said Friday its investigators have “determined the source of the explosion to be the ignition of natural gas." But the cause of that ignition remains under investigation.

RELATED: Chicago apartment building explosion: More injuries reported

The local natural gas utility, Peoples Gas, said in a statement that its service at the apartment “was working properly." The company added that the natural gas piping and appliances inside the building “are the responsibility of building management and/or residents."

“There remains no reason to believe any of our equipment – or any other part of our system -- was responsible for the incident," the utility said.

The explosion about 9 a.m. Tuesday tore through the top floor of the 36-unit, four-story apartment building in Chicago's South Austin neighborhood, leading to the structure's partial collapse.

The explosion is believed to have originated in an apartment on an upper floor, destroying most of the building’s windows. City building inspectors stabilized the building Wednesday.

The building’s owner, Roman Viere, told the Chicago Tribune that at the time of the blast, 31 of the building's 36 units were occupied.

Chicago police bomb squad and agents from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives also responded to the explosion.

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