Three Chicago men with ages ranging 26 to 39 were identified as the three men who died Thursday in an explosion along the Illinois River near Route 178 in Utica.
Immer E. Rivera, 39; Guillermo E. Rivera Tejada, 26; and Rafael R. Rivera Tejada, 36, died in the blast, the La Salle County Coroner’s Office said. Their names had been held over the weekend until their families had been notified.
The coroner’s office and the Illinois State Police are investigating the incident.
La Salle County Coroner Rich Ploch said last week that he and numerous agencies have reached only a few preliminary observations. Authorities are for sure the material ignited Thursday did not come from the nearby demolition remnants of the former Route 178 bridge.
Where the material came from may not be known for some time, Ploch said.
Authorities, including the FBI, collected a sample of what’s being reported as “a type of black powder substance” and it will undergo analysis that Ploch said will take time.
“It’s probably going to be a while before we find that out unfortunately,” Ploch said of the analysis of the material believed to have caused the explosion.
The men are not believed to have taken part in any criminal activity, Ploch said.