‘He Saw a Flash': Wife of Worker at Decimated Water Plant Describes Husband's Harrowing Experience

More than two hours after the incident was first reported, crews were seen removing a person from the rubble on a stretcher

What to Know

  • Crews dug 6 feet into the ground and tunneled roughly 20 feet to reach the employee whose leg was trapped by a large beam in the debris
  • A preliminary investigation indicated the blast may have been caused by methane gas, fire officials said
  • The plant is one of 7 wastewater treatment facilities owned by the Metropolitan Water Reclamation District of Greater Chicago

The wife of one of the three people hospitalized after an explosion at a Water Reclamation plant on Chicago's South Side Thursday morning says her husband is in good spirits, joking around and very thankful to be alive.

"The only thing he remembers is seeing a flash and then hearing a big boom and then he was trapped," Kathy Kissaine said of her husband, a pipe fitter at the facility. "He could not move, they had to use a machine to get the beams off his legs."

Several workers were trapped in the concrete rubble.

Kissaine says it took rescue crews 20 minutes to free her husband.

"He was about two feet from the door and he would have made it out," she said. "He has six broken ribs, a dislocated shoulder, collapsed lung and a broken leg."

While it took two hours to free and save another trapped iron worker who was pinned by a large beam.

Coworkers came to the University of Chicago hospital to check on the injured.

Kissane said that lifted her husband’s spirits.

She says she’s glad that everyone inside that building made it out alive.

"As soon as I saw him, I feel much better," she said. "Knowing that he is awake, he is joking, so that is my husband."

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