1 dead, 2 missing as 'ground-shaking’ explosion levels IL silicone plant

1 dead, 2 missing as 'ground-shaking’ explosion levels IL silicone plant

The explosion happened about 9:30 p.m. Friday at the AB Specialty Silicones plant in the 3700 block of Sunset Avenue in Waukegan.

"We have fire and structural damage indicative of an explosion", Steve Lenzi, spokesman for the Waukegan Fire Department, told the Tribune.

"I live in Antioch, 17.1 miles away and it shook my entire house", wrote one person on social media.

According to reports, emergency crews found the body of a factory worker Saturday after going missing Friday night. The cause of the fire remains under investigation.

Search and rescue personnel have located and are recovering the body of a third employee killed in the explosion and fire at a Waukegan silicone plant. In total, three people were confirmed dead as of Sunday afternoon and one other person is feared to be dead still in the ruble.

Two people were transported to Vista Medical Center East in Waukegan and two were taken to Advocate Condell Medical Center in Libertyville.

Lenzi said everyone affected was an employee working at the time. Others in the area posted photos and video of the blast online and described it as a "sonic boom".

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Employees were working inside the building at the time of the blast.

Lenzi said earlier Saturday it was "not likely" that any of the missing workers survived. The state fire marshal is investigating, along with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration. At least five nearby buildings were also damaged.

Lenzi says more than 100 firefighters from at least 30 departments responded to the scene.

Fire officials said that the air quality in the area is safe and there is no harm to residents. He says the coroner was on scene and crews are classifying the search as a recovery.

Megan Hener, who lives six blocks from the scene told The Lake County New-Sun the explosion was "massive" and the "building was leveled".

The Lake County Sheriff's office said on Twitter last night that it was aware of a "very loud explosion sound" and the "ground shaking".

"It was leveled. It's right across from the emission testing station", she said, in reference to a state of IL facility.