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Waukegan gathers to remember 4 men killed in plant explosion

Posted at 2:57 PM, May 10, 2019
and last updated 2019-05-10 18:01:58-04

WAUKEGAN, Ill. -- The City of Waukegan gathered together Friday morning to honor the lives of the four men killed in an explosion a week ago at a chemical plant. The blast happened at AB Specialty Silicones killing the following people:

· Byron Biehn, 53, of Union Wrove, WI. Byron was the 2nd shift production supervisor, had been with AB Specialty Silicones for 9 years, and was an owner of the company.

· Jeff Cummings, 57, of Kenosha, WI. Jeff was the 3rd shift production supervisor, and spent 7 years with AB Specialty Silicones.

· Allen Stevens, 29, of Paddock Lake, WI. Allen was the 2nd shift chemical operator, had spent 2 years with AB Specialty Silicones, and was an owner of the company.

· Daniel Nicklas, 24, of Beach Park, IL. Daniel was a quality control chemist, and had been with AB Specialty Silicones for 8 months.

Since the deadly explosion, the company said they’ve focused on ways to spend time together, grieve, and offer support to one another.

The families, however, are asking for privacy during such a difficult time. Friday’s memorial was not only to honor the lives of the victims, but also to thank the first responders of the Waukegan Fire and Police departments.

“Obviously you wish they were here. Unfortunately, they’re not, but they saved the lives of others, and that’s a testament to what kind of character they have and how they lived their lives," Sam Cunningham, the Mayor of Waukegan, said.

There are plans to reopen AB Specialty Silicones. They say it will be hard work, but if it’s possible to re-create the type of place the men they lost would be proud of it is a challenge they will accept.

The plant will remain closed through the week, but will reopen Monday May, 13th.

The plant will also close periodically for employees to attend funeral services over the course of the next week.