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Searchers Recover Remains of Final Worker Missing After Illinois Silicone Plant Explosion


Four days after a massive explosion destroyed part of an Illinois silicone plant, searchers recovered the remains of the final worker reported missing in the wake of disaster.

“We Weren’t Going to Leave Without Getting Him Back to His Family.”

The 24-year-old quality control chemist from Beach Park, Illinois, was one of 9 people onsite last Friday night when the catastrophic blast tore through a mixing building located on the AB Specialty Silicones campus in Waukegan.

A search team discovered his body deep in the rubble Tuesday evening. He had only been with the company for 8 months.

“We weren’t going to leave without getting him back to his family,” Lake County Coroner Howard Cooper told NBC Chicago on Wednesday afternoon.

“I think this was a sense of relief that he was found and they’re going to be able to move on and find closure,” he continued.

3 Others Killed in Illinois Silicone Plant Explosion

The silicone plant explosion killed three other workers, including a 29-year old man from Paddock Lake, Wisconsin, who passed away last Saturday morning at the Loyola Medical Center Burn Unit. He was a second shift chemical operator and an owner who joined the company two years ago.

Search crews recovered two bodies last weekend, including that of another owner identified as a 57-year-old third shift supervisor from Kenosha, Wisconsin, who had been with AB Specialty Silicones for 9 years. He apparently became trapped after returning to the burning building to help others escape.

A second Kenosha man identified as a 53-year old shift production supervisor and 9-year veteran of the company also died while trapped in the building.

Three other workers suffered injuries last Friday night, and just two escape the facility unharmed.

AB Specialty Silicones to Reopen May 13th

The various state and local agencies investigating the Illinois silicone plant explosion have apparently finished their onsite examinations. The campus will reopen on Monday, but close periodically so employees may attend upcoming funerals.

AB Specialty Silicones announced it will honor victims and first-responders tomorrow morning during a memorial service at the Waukegan campus. The service begins at 10:00 a.m. local time.

“We have lost our friend and colleagues, and know that their families have lost even more: fathers, grandfathers, husbands, sons, brothers,” the company’s statement said.

Illinois Silicone Plant Explosion Remains Under Investigation

Investigators have yet to determine the cause of the explosion.

Managers ordered employees to flee the plant moments before the disaster, and at least two of the deceased became trapped while they were leading the evacuation.

Authorities have ruled out foul play as a possible cause and officially ruled the Waukegan silicone plant explosion an accident.

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