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Man killed in Chicago-area petroleum plant blast was also wrestling coach

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April 26, 2023
By The Associated Press

Global OHS News Chicago explosion USA

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A man killed in an explosion at a suburban Chicago petroleum refinery was working at the plant as a contractor and was also a high school wrestling coach, authorities said.

The Will County Coroner’s Office said Dru Worker, 25, of Homewood, Illinois, was killed in Tuesday morning’s explosion at Seneca Petroleum Co. in Lemont in Chicago’s southwest suburbs.

He was pronounced dead at the scene after an asphalt tank apparently exploded, the Will County Sheriff’s Office said. A second person suffered minor injuries in the blast, which was followed by a fire.

Several agencies are investigating the explosion, including the Occupational Safety and Health Administration, the county coroner’s office and the Illinois State Fire Marshal.

Worker was an employee of M&J Industrial Services, as is the person injured in the blast, and both had been doing work at the refinery when the explosion occurred, the company said. M&J Industrial Services said in a statement that it was “heartbroken and devastated by this tragedy” and cooperating with federal and state investigators.


A number listed for Seneca Petroleum rang unanswered Wednesday.

OSHA spokesman Scott Allen said the agency was investigating both M&J Industrial Services and Seneca Petroleum and would do its “best to determine what might have caused this tragic incident so that it might be prevented in the future.”

Consolidated High School District 230 said Worker was the assistant wrestling coach at Andrew High School in Tinley Park in Chicago’s south suburbs. The district said in a statement that it had “a heavy heart” over his death.


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