Worker found dead after Illinois plant explosion; 2 others believed dead as rescuers suspend search

Authorities searching for three missing workers after an explosion and fire at an Illinois silicone plant have recovered one body, according to reports.

The other two workers are believed dead and Waukegan Fire Marshal Steven Lenzi said Saturday that the search for their bodies was suspended due to concerns about the stability of the structure, the Chicago Sun-Times and other media reported.

The explosion at AB Specialty Silicones Friday shook homes surrounding the Waukegan plant, about 50 miles north of Chicago.

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Nine employees were working at the time of the blast. Four were injured and two others declined medical treatment.

"The conditions are really rough in there," Lenzi said. "There's a lot of damage. There was a lot of fire throughout."

Image posted by the Lake County Sheriff's Office shows the aftermath of Friday's explosion at a plant in Waukegan, Illinois.<br><br>

Image posted by the Lake County Sheriff's Office shows the aftermath of Friday's explosion at a plant in Waukegan, Illinois.<br><br> (Lake County Sheriff's Office )

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Lenzi said the cause of the explosion has not been determined, and it could be days before crews are able to resume their search because heavy piping and other materials that were inside the 30,000-foot structure pose a danger to firefighters and investigators.

He said the plant typically operates 24 hours a day, mixing chemicals and other materials to make silicone.

The state fire marshal is investigating, along with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

Residents in the area said they heard the explosion and felt their homes shake. Five buildings nearby were damaged, with glass on windows and doors shattering, Lenzi said.

Nancy Carreno, who lives near the plant, told The Chicago Tribune the explosion didn't break any windows but it was loud. She said electricity flickered then came back on.

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

The Associated Press contributed to this report.