It was an explosion that was felt as far as 20 miles away, and area residents are still coming to grips with what transpired in Waukegan on Friday night.
“I was just stuck and could only tell my husband to call 911. I couldn’t even say it fast enough,” Nimonica Barrett, who drove by the plant just before the blast, said.
That explosion, which occurred at the AB Speciality Silicones plant in suburban Waukegan on Friday night, rocked numerous suburbs and left at least two people dead and two people missing in its aftermath. As clean-up efforts begin and search efforts continue, some residents are counting themselves as fortunate that they weren’t in or around the building when the blast occurred.
“I can only say, by the grace of God that I was not in the explosion,” Barrett said.
Residents as far away as Kenosha, Wisconsin felt the blast, prompting a wave of social media videos and pictures of the aftermath.
“I heard the windows shake in the house,” Kenosha-resident David Rettig said.
While area residents were shaken up by the explosion, those who worked at the plant are processing the loss of several of their co-workers. Carlos LeBron, whose fiancée works at the plant, says that she is devastated by the incident.
“She lost her teammates. She lost her family,” he said. “It’s the ‘what if.’ What if that was you? Or me?”
Numerous businesses in the immediate vicinity of the explosion were badly damaged, including an American Outfitters location that lost several dock doors and saw debris fly through its windows.
While clean-up efforts continue at those locations, the search for the remaining two victims will continue at the plant on Sunday morning, as search efforts have been suspended due to darkness on Saturday.