More details about Roscoe apartment explosion and fire


Bodycam footage shows Roscoe police breaking open an exterior apartment door on their way upstairs to rescue a family after an explosion on Sunday, Nov. 12, 2023 in Roscoe.
Sgt. Robert Lewis, Ofc. Greg Yalden, and Ofc. Anna Podgorny were presented awards for their lifesaving actions at the Dec. 5, Village of Roscoe board meeting.

New details have emerged about the explosion and fire at a Clearwing apartment in Roscoe, though not its cause. A gas leak is suspected. The Roscoe Police Department and the Harlem-Roscoe Fire Department issued a joint news release, along with bodycam video showing police officers rescuing the family from their home in the 10100 block of Clearwing Lane, south of Roscoe Road, early Sunday morning, Nov. 12, 2023.

The report says that Roscoe Police Sgt. Robert Lewis and two Roscoe patrol officers, Anna Podgorny and Greg Yalden, were first to arrive, about twenty minutes after midnight, at the two-story, four-unit building, along with deputies from the Winnebago County Sheriff’s Department. Officers noted smoke and fire and that "one side of the building [was] missing." Outside, Harlem-Roscoe firefighters were quickly containing the fire in the building, which was in danger of collapse.

Photo: Sheryl Drost, Harlem-Roscoe Fire

Three of the apartments were vacant and not rented, but officers were told that one upstairs unit was occupied by a father and two small children. Using a small battering ram, officers gently and quickly broke open the outside door on the ground floor. They ran up the smoky stairway shouting "Police!" and entered the apartment. The father, Trevor Klett, told them that his two small children were in a rear bedroom.

Klett and Sgt. Robert Lewis hurried to the bedroom, where Lewis lifted up the baby from her crib while Klett carried the other child. Coughing, they went downstairs together. Lewis said, "C'mon baby" and the baby stayed calm.

The Harlem-Roscoe Fire EMS "treated and released" the family at the scene, as well as the police officers, for smoke inhalation. Harlem Roscoe Fire investigators are assisting the Illinois State Fire Marshal in investigating the cause of the fire. 

Klett told WIFR, “Literally, it sounded like a bomb went off.” He says in the past year he told Nicor Gas three times about a gas smell at the apartment. According to, representatives said they didn't detect any leaks the next day but were still testing. We have asked Nicor for updates. Winnebago County tax records say the property is owned by Byard Trust, which belongs to Jake Petry.

A GoFundMe campaign has been set up to collect donations for the family.

This story has been updated with the names of the Roscoe officers.

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