4th Worker Killed in Waukegan Plant Explosion Identified

Crews were still sifting through the building's crumbled facade Tuesday as they searched for another worker who remained missing but was presumed dead

The body of a worker who remained missing following a deadly explosion in Waukegan last week has been found and identified, marking the fourth death in the blast that destroyed a north suburban plant, authorities said Wednesday. 

The missing worker's body was located Tuesday night. He was identified by AB Specialty Silicones as 24-year-old Daniel Nicklas of Beach Park. He was a quality control chemist and had been working for the comapny for eight months, AB Specialy Silicones said.

"We weren't going to leave without getting him back to his family," said Lake County Coroner Howard Cooper, before Nicklas was identified.

Crews spent days sifting through the rubble of the crumbled AB Specialty Silicones plant. 

"It was an area that was more difficult to access," Cooper said. "It was not too far from one of the other victims but we couldn't get too far into the area." 

Cooper said he informed the victim's family of the discovery.

"I think this was a sense of relief that he was found and they're going to be able to move on and find closure," Cooper said. 

The identities of two other workers found in the rubble were released earlier in the week. 

Jeff Cummings, 57, of Kenosha and Byron H. Biehn, 53, of Brighton Township, Wisconsin were both killed in the Friday blast. Autopsies were conducted Monday but the results were still pending toxicology, according to Lake County Coroner Howard Cooper. 

Authorities had already identified Allen Stevens among the victims after the 29-year-old passed away at an area hospital following the explosion. 

“We are heartbroken by this tragedy," Biehn's family said in a statement. "Byron was a beloved husband, father, son (in-law), bother (in-law), Godfather, uncle, and friend to many. We are so very grateful for the outpouring of prayers and support for Byron and our family. We ask that you keep the victims, their families, and the first responders in your prayers."

The family said Biehn was a longtime employee with the company. 

An investigation into what happened remained ongoing and an exact cause had not been determined as of Tuesday. 

An explosion in Waukegan has now claimed three lives, and one person remains missing at the site of the blast. NBC 5’s Lexi Sutter has all the latest details. 

A charred metal frame and piles of debris are all that remain after the deadly explosion Friday night.

Those who died are being hailed as heroes. Investigators said they noticed a problem and were helping their coworkers exit the building when it burst into flames. 

The explosion was so intense it even damaged a neighboring plant. 

"We are shocked and heartbroken by the tragedy that occurred in our plant last night," AB Speciality Silicones GM Mac Penman said in a statement. "We have spent the day trying our best to support all of the members of our AB family as we attempt to process this terrible loss together.

"We want to express our extreme gratitude to all the first responders who arrived at the scene. We continue to work closely with the Waukegan Fire Department and the Illinois Fire Marshal as they secure the scene and complete their investigation," he added.

A memorial service for employees will be held Friay at 10 a.m. at the site of the Waukegan facility, the company said.

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