That explosion south of Utica Thursday appears to be an accident killing three men from the Chicago area. That is what La Salle County Coroner Rich Ploch has told the Chicago Tribune Saturday. Plock said, “We're not concerned about any public safety or any foul play.” He added, “We're still working with State Police AND they and the FBI and bomb squad experts are working in order to identify exactly what happened.
Ploch told the Chicago Tribune the men ranged in ages from the mid-20s to mid-50s and were cousins and uncles. Their names would likely be released Monday.
First responders arrived after 7:30pm Thursday in an area south and west of the Route 178 bridge. This stated in Ploch's earlier release. The Chicago Tribune says the EMS workers found the three men dead from injuries sustained in the explosion. Investigators determined the men ignited a black powder along the river bank. The powder is being examined, but Ploch said it could take weeks to process through laboratory tests.