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Funeral for men killed in explosion near Starved Rock to be held Tuesday

A GoFundMe has been launched to help the families of Inmer Rivera Tejada, 39; Rafael Rivera Tejada, 36; and their nephew Guillermo Rivera Tejada, who died in the blast.

Brothers Inmer Rivera Tejada, 39, Rafael Rivera Tejada, 36, and their nephew Guillermo Rivera Tejada, 26.
Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C.

The funeral service for two brothers and their nephew who died in an explosion near Starved Rock State Park in Utica earlier this month will be held Tuesday.

Inmer Rivera Tejada, 39, and Rafael Rivera Tejada, 36, and their nephew Guillermo Rivera Tejada, 26, were fishing when, LaSalle County Coroner Rich Ploch said, they accidentally ignited black powder. Their bodies were found May 6 about 100 yards west of the Route 178 bridge in Utica. They left behind seven children between them.

However, family attorney Tara R. Devine has raised the possibility that the deaths were connected to demolition work done in March in the area to remove steel spans from a bridge across the Illinois River near Utica. Devine planned an investigation into what work took place and what clean-up followed.

The Illinois State Police continues its own investigation into the incident.

The funeral service will be from 4-7 p.m. Tuesday at Martinez Funeral Home, 2534 S. Pulaski Road in Little Village. The next day, Wednesday, family and friends will gather at the same funeral home to leave for the internment site at 10 a.m.

Nathan Rivera, a nephew of the family, created a GoFundMe page for anyone who wishes to donate to the family. More than $8,000 had been raised as of Monday evening.

“A day that was supposed to be a family fishing outing turned out to be one of nightmares and tragedy,” Rivera said in the GoFundMe post. “To our great dismay these men lost their lives in a tragic fatal accident that could have been avoided.”

Contributing: Jackie Serrato