03/25/2014 04:26 pm ET Updated Mar 25, 2014

Family Unharmed After Home Mysteriously Explodes While They Were Away (VIDEO)

A family of seven was unharmed after a mysterious explosion leveled their home in New Lenox, Ill., roughly 40 miles southwest of Chicago.

The explosion happened around 2 p.m. Monday, starting on the north side of the home and blowing out a wall, NBC Chicago reports. The force of the explosion sent a window across the street into a neighbor's yard; a couch from the home was hurled onto another neighbor's roof.

"It felt like a car or a truck hit my house," neighbor Paul Negri, who caught camera phone footage of the blast, told the Tribune. "The whole house shook."

Homeowners Frank and Natalie Klimala told reporters they were grateful neither they nor their three kids were home during the blast; they also have two children away at college.

"Any later and this would have been a totally different story,” Natalie told the Sun-Times. Neighbors say three pets -- a cat, a turtle and a lizard -- did not survive.

"Very distraught, very distraught," is how Janice Wenzel, Frank's sister, told ABC Chicago, described the family is taking things. "They can't believe that this happened, their house is just totaled, it's gone. There's nothing left."

A family friend has already spearheaded an effort to help the family get back on their feet and provided Tinley Park Patch with information on how to donate gift cards, clothing, furniture and toys.

The Joliet Fire Department is investigating the explosion, though CBS Chicago reports officials believe all signs point to a gas issue. Family members said they installed a new furnace about a month ago.

"I'm just glad that we're all out of the house," Frank said. "That's the only bright spot. Everything else can be replaced."