Fire and debris can be seen after an explosion in Waukegan, Illinois, late Friday.
Photo: Lake County Sheriff's Office
Photo: Lake County Sheriff's Office

2 dead, 4 hospitalized after silicone plant explodes in Illinois

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Updated 7:30 p.m. EDT May 4: Lake County Corner Howard Cooper said that at least two people are confirmed dead after the explosion at the AB Specialty Silicone plant in Waukegan.

Updated 12:30 p.m. EDT May 4: One person is confirmed dead, four people are injured and two people are still missing after the blast, Waukegan Fire Marshal Steven Lenzi told CNN.

While the fire has been extinguished, Lenzi said the search for the missing people has been suspended due to dangerous conditions and concerns about the plant’s structural stability.

Update 7:45 a.m. EDT May 4: Waukegan police Cmdr. Joe Florip told reporters a search and rescue operation was being conducted at the AB Specialty Silicone plant in Waukegan, Illinois, to find other second-shift workers who might have been in the building at the time of the explosion, WMAQ reported. 

Update 2:57 a.m. EDT May 4:  At least four people were hospitalized after the explosion at the AB Specialty Silicone plant in Waukegan, the Chicago Tribune reported.

Steve Lenzi, a spokesman for the Waukegan Fire Department, said the explosion caused heavy damage and decimated the building, WGN reported.

Details on the extent of the people injured were not were not immediately available, the television station reported.

"We have fire and structural damage indicative of an explosion," Lenzi told reporters. "There is very heavy damage.”

Lenzi said officials did not know what caused the explosion.


Update 12:30 a.m. EDT May 4: The Lake County Sheriff’s Office reported the explosion came from a factory in Waukegan, WLS reported. The sheriff is asking people to stay away from the area, but no evacuation order had been put in place as of 10:45 p.m. 

The Gurnee Fire Department confirmed they were on the scene, WBBM reported.


Original report: Lake County Sheriff’s Office officials reported they were “aware of a very loud explosion sound and ground shaking in the Gurnee area” near Waukegan, Illinois, around 9:45 p.m., the Chicago Tribune reported.

“We are working to determine the cause,” the Lake County Sheriff’s Office tweeted.

About 20 minutes later, the sheriff’s office in another tweet warned the public to stay out of the area.

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