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9 injured in fire, blast at VFW post

Updated: May 30, 2012 3:17AM

Nine people were injured when a welding torch sparked a fire and explosion Tuesday night at a VFW post in west suburban Villa Park, officials said.

Five or six people were doing maintenance work on an active gun range in the basement of the VFW post near St. Charles Road and Ardmore Avenue when a welding torch sparked a fire, said Lombard Fire Department Battalion Chief Ron Rakosnik, who is set to take the job of Villa Park’s fire chief in roughly two weeks.

They tried to put out the flames, but the fire got out of control and caused an explosion just as they were trying to get out of the basement, he said. Another group of people was already gathered on the first floor of the building for a bingo night when the explosion went off. Two people were taken to a hospital in serious-to-critical condition, three in fair condition and five in good condition, Rakosnik said. The most seriously wounded suffered flash burns from the blast, but none of the injuries are life-threatening.

LeeAnn Shelton

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