It is with a heavy heart that ABSS can now confirm additional information about the explosion that occurred at AB Specialty Silicones on the night of Friday, May 3, 2019.
Tragically, we lost four members of our AB family:
Byron Biehn, 53, of Union Grove, WI. Byron was the 2nd Shift Production Supervisor, had been with AB Specialty Silicones for 9 years, and was an owner of the company.
Jeff Cummings, 57, of Kenosha, WI. Jeffrey was the 3rd Shift Production Supervisor and spent 7 years with AB Specialty Silicones.
Allen Stevens, 29, of Paddock Lake, WI. Allen was the 2nd Shift Chemical Operator, had spent 2 years with AB Specialty Silicones, and was an owner of the company.
Daniel Nicklas, 24, of Beach Park, IL. Daniel was a Quality Control Chemist and had been with AB Specialty Silicones for 8 months.
We have lost our friends and colleagues, and know that their families have lost even more: fathers, grandfathers, husbands, sons, brothers. We want to express gratitude for the incredible efforts of the Waukegan Fire Department and Chief George Bridges, Jr., and the Lake County Coroner’s office and Dr. Howard Cooper.
As a company, we have talked with each other about what the future holds, and have resolved to re-open AB Specialty Silicones. It will be hard work, but if it is possible to re-create the type of place Byron, Jeff, Allen, and Daniel would be proud of, it is a challenge we would all accept.
Regarding business operations, we plan to reopen on Monday, May 13th but will be closed periodically for employees to attend funeral services over the course of the next week. Thank you for your continued patience and support.
5-4-19 Statement from AB Specialty Silicones General Manager Mac Penman:
“We are shocked and heartbroken by the tragedy that occurred in our plant on May 3rd. We are trying our best to support all of the members of our AB family as we attempt to process this terrible loss together. We want to express our extreme gratitude to all of the first responders who arrived at the scene. We continue to work closely with the Waukegan Fire Department and the Illinois Fire Marshal as they secure the scene and complete their investigation.”