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Three Wisconsin men killed in Waukegan plant explosion

NOW: Three Wisconsin men killed in Waukegan plant explosion

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WAUKEGAN, Ill. (CBS 58) -- The search continued Monday for a missing AB Specialty Silicones employee.

“We are dedicated to providing closure,” Steve Lenzi, Waukegan Fire Department Fire Marshal, said.

An explosion went off in the Waukegan, Illinois plant Friday around 9:30 p.m. and the entire structure went up in flames. After the fire was out, crews have been searching for missing employees.

“Our firefighters are really working in some horrible conditions in there the entire building has collapsed into the area we are trying to search now,” Lenzi said.

Nine employees were working at the time of the blast.

“Staff was all trying to evacuate the building because they knew that something was going wrong,” Lenzi said.

Less than half of the employees made it out safely.

Allen Stevens from Salem died at the hospital. A GoFundMe fundraiser has been set up to help Stevens' family. 

Two bodies were found in the rubble over the weekend, Byron Biehn from Union Grove and 56-year-old Jeff Cummings from Kenosha.

“He was the biggest heart you’ll ever meet in your life for sure,” Jason Griffin, family-friend of the victim said.

Cummings was a husband, father, grandfather who loved motorcycles, dogs, and bowling at Sheridan Lanes in Kenosha. A GoFundMe account has been set up in his memory. 


“He was just a big hearted man, a huge family man,” Griffin said. “He would do anything for anybody. You meet him once and you felt like you were related him to right away.”

Cummings worked at the plant for several years and was a supervisor. He had got to work early Friday night and many are saying he died trying to help other employees.

“He was trying to get everyone out he was going to make sure he was the last one out and try to save every person he could,” Griffin said.

He died a hero.

“One of the biggest forever and always, for sure, Griffin said.

Sheridan Lanes is planning a benefit in Cummings memory on June 15. The proceeds will benefit his family. The bowling alley is looking for donations for a raffle and silent auction.  





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