CHICAGO, Ill. (WTVO/AP) — The family of three men who died after apparently igniting an explosive powder near Starved Rock State Park have hired an attorney, who said Wednesday “There is no reason to believe the three men had anything whatsoever to do with the handling of, or knowingly using explosive devices.”
Inmer Tejada, 39, Rafael Tejada, 36, and Guillermo Tejada, 26, appeared to have been fishing along a river before the blast killed them, the coroner said.
LaSalle County Coroner Rich Ploch said the men were apparently relaxing while fishing along the Illinois River on Thursday evening before the “black powder substance” was ignited in a hole.
He said there was no device involved in the explosion, although black powder can be used to make fireworks.
Ploch theorized the men had either lit the powder for entertainment or, more likely, they were trying to light a fire to cook food that was found nearby.
“We do know demolition was actively occurring in the area as part of bridge work. We will be hiring some of the best experts in the country to assist us in our investigation and hopefully bring peace of mind to Inmer, Rafael and Guillermo’s family,” Plaintiff’s Attorney Tara R. Devine said.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.