fatalmetra_110418_nwside.jpg

Metra police and a member of the Metra media-relations team talk near the site of an explosion that left one Metra rail worker dead and one injured Saturday, Nov. 3, 2018, near the Grayland Station at 3805 N. Kilbourn Ave. | Tyler LaRiviere/Sun-Times

Metra worker killed, another injured in explosion on NW Side

SHARE Metra worker killed, another injured in explosion on NW Side
SHARE Metra worker killed, another injured in explosion on NW Side

A Metra worker was killed and another was injured in an explosion Saturday morning in the Old Irving Park neighborhood on the Northwest Side.

About 11:30 a.m., the men were welding rail together on the Milwaukee District North line in the 4500 block of West Byron Street when a “buildup” caused a tank of gas that was stored on a truck to explode, according to Metra spokeswoman Meg Reile.

The blast happenednear the Grayland Station at 3805 N. Kilbourn Ave.

Bruce Marcheschi, Metra’s incoming chief operations officer, said the work performed Saturday followed up from last weekend, when track diamonds were replaced. The crew Saturday was doing routine maintenance when the incident happened, Marcheschi said.

Both men were taken to Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where one of them died, authorities said. The other man was in stable condition.

The worker who died was 37-year-old Omar Solis, who was pronounced at 12:11 p.m., according to the Cook County medical examiner’s office. An autopsy was scheduled for Sunday.

A nearby resident, Frederic Sender, says he was in his garage when he heard a loud boom about 20 feet behind his house.Sender says the explosion knocked his 2-year-old son to the ground.

But knowing that crews had been working on the railroad tracks by his house in the Old Irving Park neighborhood, he thought nothing of it — sometimes railroad ties or other equipment are dropped.

“Hearing the boom wasn’t unusual until afterward,” Sender said. “Once we heard the sirens, we knew.”

Marcheschi said they’re doing a “deep dive into what took place.”

“It’s a hard thing when something happens to one of your own employees,” Marcheschi said.

The Latest
Amaria Osby screamed, ‘Momma stop,” as Andreal Hagler placed a plastic bag over her head and held her down on a bed, prosecutors say.
Today’s update is a 5-minute read that will brief you on the day’s biggest stories.
Los clientes tienen hasta el martes para solicitar asistencia para pagar su balance en su totalidad.
Según una demanda federal, el estudiante de séptimo grado que huyó de un coche supuestamente robado y al que le dispararon por la espalda no era ninguna amenaza.
“I want our kids to enjoy safe spaces all over this city. I want us to continue to work to create those safe spaces all over our city. But it starts in the home,” Mayor Lori Lightfoot said.