WAUKEGAN, Ill. — An explosion at a silicone plant in Waukegan, Ill. killed two people and left authorities pouring through rubble in a desperate attempt to locate two additional people. Authorities fear that the two workers missing may be dead according to ABC 7 News. The reason for the explosion remains under investigation. Authorities said that the nine people were in the plant at the time of the explosion. Recovery efforts continue.
The Lake County Coroner confirmed that four people suffered injuries in the blast at the silicone manufacturing plant. One of those who sustained severe injuries was taken to a local hospital where he died from his injuries. The coroner’s office said he was a 29-year-old laboratory employee. Three other employees received treatment at the hospital, and two others did not require any medical assistance. Searchers found another person in the rubble on Saturday morning. ABC 7 News did not identify that individual. Search and rescue teams persisted with the recovery efforts into Sunday.
Residents who live a short distance from the plant said they felt the walls of the house shake when the building erupted. Authorities said that doorbells equipped with video surveillance cameras captured the explosion on video. Furthermore, many homes and business sustained property damage as a result of the concussion from the explosion.
The Waukegan Fire Marshall said that the investigation would continue. He also said that his staff conducted several interviews and he received information from those interviews he believed to help determine why the plant violently exploded. The fire marshal did not provide a time frame as to when his conclusions would be reported but did say that the people who survived the blast were cooperative with his investigation.
Initial damage estimates suggest that the silicone plant was 90% destroyed in the explosion, causing over $1 million.