Mourners gather to honor 4 killed in Illinois factory blast

WAUKEGAN, Ill. (AP) — More than 100 people gathered to remember four men from Illinois and Wisconsin who died in a silicone plant explosion.

The mourners congregated Friday morning along a chain-link fence outside the badly damaged AB Specialty Silicones factory north of Chicago, where the men were killed in the May 3 blast. Four wreaths of white flowers were placed on stands while people hugged and cried.

Lake County Coroner Howard Cooper says the service was about healing but “I cannot lie, it’s hard.”

Company general manager Mac Penman says he plans to rebuild and reopen the Waukegan facility. Penman spoke at Friday’s gathering, telling the crowd “there will never be another normal workday.”

The blast is under investigation but fire officials have said they believe it was the result of an accident in factory processes.

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