Authorities say one person is dead, and two others still missing have likely perished in an explosion at a manufacturing plant outside of Chicago. Four other people were injured in the blast which occurred Friday night at about 9:30 p.m.
The explosion occurred at the AB Specialty Silicones manufacturing and distribution plant about 35 miles north of Chicago, near the Gurnee-Waukegan border. Waukegan Fire Marshal Steven Lenzi told The AP that it’s “not likely” anyone survived the blast, and says crews are now classifying the search as a recovery. Officials have suspended their search for the missing employees due to concerns about the stability of the plant. Nine employees were inside the plant when the explosion occurred.
Officials are still trying to determine what caused the explosion, which shattered windows across the area and damaged at least five surrounding buildings. Area residents say the explosion shook their homes, and some people in southern Wisconsin reported feeling the blast, which knocked out power to about 1,000 people.
Megan Hener lives nearby the plant, and told The Chicago Tribune, “It shook our house and shook my insides … It was massive.”
Marilee Sanchez spoke with WBEZ’s Dan Mihalopoulos, “We were pulling into our driveway. We heard a big boom. It sounded like a bomb. We turned around, and the back of the neighbor’s, the whole thing, it looked like fireworks … It was awful. It was scary. My husband had been taking a shower, and he said he almost fell, because the house shook.”
Crews fought to contain the fire through the night, and urged residents to stay clear of the area.