starved rock explosion

Coroner Identifies 3 Men Killed in Explosion Near Starved Rock State Park

The LaSalle County coroner on Monday identified the three men who died after apparently igniting an explosive powder near northern Illinois' Starved Rock State Park.

The victims were Immer Rivera Tejada, 39, Guillermo Rivera Tejada, 26, and Rafael Rivera Tejada, 36, all of Chicago, according to WREX in Rockford.

LaSalle County Coroner Rich Ploch previously said the men were apparently relaxing while fishing along the Illinois River on Thursday evening before a “black powder substance” was ignited in a hole.

He said there was no device involved in the explosion, although black powder can be used to make fireworks.

Ploch theorized the men had either lit the powder for entertainment or, more likely, they were trying to light a fire to cook food that was found nearby.

He told the Chicago Sun-Times on Friday that the men suffered “pretty extensive injuries,” and autopsies were planned. He said that no foul play was suspected.

The explosion, which occurred about 75 miles (120 kilometers) southwest of Chicago, remains under investigation by several agencies, including Illinois State Police and the FBI.

NBC Chicago/Associated Press
Contact Us