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Second victim of Waukegan chemical plant explosion identified as Kenosha man

Posted at 6:28 PM, May 06, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-07 14:39:36-04

A second victim who died in Friday night’s massive explosion at a Waukegan chemical plant has been identified as a Kenosha man. The victim's family tells TODAY’S TMJ4, Jeff Cummings was found among the rubble at AB Specialty Silicones over the weekend.

Waukegan officials said 29-year-old Allen Stevens of Paddock Lake died at the hospital Saturday afternoon.

Three people were killed by the explosion and authorities continue to search for a fourth victim reported missing.

Crews spent all day Monday digging through the wreckage to find him.

The building collapsed in various areas creating dangerous conditions, so firefighters are slowly removing the debris piece by piece, even using cadaver dogs to detect remains.

“We’re dealing underneath an entire building, the entire structure of a building," Waukegan Fire Marshal Steven Lenzi said. "You think of the different layers of roof. Roofs are covered with gravel. There’s a lot of steel. This is all heavy material."

The Lake County Coroner’s Office conducted autopsies on Cummings’ remains and 53-year-old Byron Biehn of Brighton Township on Monday. They needed to use dental records to help them in the process and released their names Tuesday morning.

Waukegan factory fatality update by TODAY'S TMJ4 on Scribd

Lenzi said when the blast happened, staff was trying to evacuate the building because they knew something was wrong. Five of the nine employees at the plant survived.

Investigators are hailing the victims as heroes, who helped rescue some of their colleagues.

Now Lenzi says their main priority in the coming days is bringing closure to the families.

“This is an ongoing incident," he said. "This is not going to be a simple incident at all. We’ve got days worth of work ahead of us."

Investigators are still looking into what caused this explosion to happen. They’ve ruled out foul play.

Crews will resume their search for the fourth victim Tuesday morning.