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1 dead, 1 hurt in northern Illinois chemical explosion

January 22, 2022 GMT

HAMPSHIRE, Ill. (AP) — A chemical explosion Friday at a northern Illinois manufacturing plant killed one person and left another critically injured, authorities said.

The incident occurred about 10:45 a.m. when two employees at the W. R. Meadows building materials plant in Hampshire were cleaning a tank inside one of the buildings, Hampshire Fire Protection District Chief Trevor Herrmann told the Chicago Tribune.

It’ wasn’t immediately known what type of chemicals were involved or what might have triggered the accident, Herrmann said.

W.R. Meadows manufactures asphalt and concrete products for building construction, he said.

The Kane County Coroner’s Office identified the man who was killed as Wuilmer Gavigia, 55, of Algonquin. It said an autopsy will be conducted Monday.

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The injury victim was taken to an Elgin hospital.

All employees have been accounted for and there were no other injuries, officials said.

The explosion caused significant property damage to the materials production facility where it occurred, Hampshire Village Manager Jay Hedges said.

People living and working near the site were evacuated for safety reasons, and a village inspector went to the site to determine the building’s structural integrity, Hedges said.

Hampshire is 47 miles (75 kilometers) northwest of Chicago.