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Crews rescue two women in Chicago apartment collapse

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[November 24, 2014]  (Reuters) - Search-and-rescue crews pulled two women and a dog from the rubble of a collapsed Chicago apartment building on Sunday night and were searching for more victims, fire officials said.

The women, one in her 70s and another believed to be a young adult, were taken to hospital while about 100 fire personnel searched for others, Deputy District Chief Jeff Lyle of the Chicago Fire Department said.

Fire officials believe there are no more trapped victims but are continuing their search to make sure, Lyle said.

"We have a three-story residential building that pancaked," Lyle said. "We're not sure of the cause right now."

Lyle said the call about the building in the Washington Park neighborhood on the city's Southside came in about 7 p.m. local time, initially as an explosion at the site.

Officials do not know if an explosion actually happened or if the initial caller was hearing the sounds of the building coming down, he said. The building was of a frame construction and likely more modern and lightweight than older buildings, Lyle said.

Both victims were rescued about 20 minutes after fire crews arrived on the scene, and the building was "completely down," according to the department's official Twitter feed.

The younger woman, who was on the third floor when the building collapsed, was considered to be in fair-to-serious condition, Lyle said. The older woman, who was on the second floor, was considered in serious-to-critical condition initially but was able to talk to her rescuers, Lyle said.

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A dog named Tigger was also pulled alive from the rubble, Lyle said.

A Chicago police spokesman said officers were assisting on the scene, but he declined to provide more details.

(Reporting by Karen Brooks in Austin, Texas; Editing by Peter Cooney and Paul Tait)

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