Trucker killed by flying debris following Illinois factory explosion

A trucker more than a quarter mile from an Illinois factory explosion was killed by flying debris Monday afternoon.

The NDK America Plant, which manufactures crystals used in liquid-crystal displays, was designed to break apart during an explosion, according to the Chicago Tribune.

Investigators are still trying to determine what caused the explosion and whether other parts of the building could pose a danger following the fatal Illinois factory accident.

The Belvidere fire department reported that the blast occurred about 2:30 p.m., apparently in a highly pressurized vessel where the crystals were made.

The fire chief said the five-year-old, six-story factory was built with specially designed exterior panels meant to break away during the explosion. An employee inside the building during the blast was not injured.

However, a chunk of exterior panel struck a man standing outside his vehicle on the north side of the Belvidere Oasis on I-90, about a quarter mile away. The 63-year-old Chesterton, Indiana man was killed.

Debris from the explosion was scattered over several hundred feet and residents near the factory said the blast felt like an earthquake.

The USA Today attributed the explosion to a gas leak at the plant and said the victim was pumping gas into his vehicle along I-90 when he was hit by shrapnel from the explosion.

Belvidere police, the Boone County sheriff and the state fire marshal continue to investigate the Illinois factory accident.