Illinois silicone plant explosion leaves three dead
Crews suspended their search due to concerns about the stability of the structure, and Waukegan Fire Marshal Steven Lenzi said they would not resume searching until what remains of the plant is torn down.
The three were among nine employees who were inside AB Specialty Silicones in the Waukegan, about 50 miles (80 kilometers) north of Chicago, when the explosion occurred around 9:30 p.m. Friday, Lenzi said. Four were taken to hospitals and two declined treatment. Authorities have not identified the employees.
Lenzi said it’s unlikely the missing workers survived.
“The conditions are really rough in there,” Lenzi said. “There’s a lot of damage. There was a lot of fire throughout.”
The plant typically operates 24 hours a day, mixing chemicals and other materials to make silicone, he said.
The cause of the explosion has not been determined, Lenzi said. The state fire marshal is investigating, along with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. ■