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One dead, 12 injured in Arlington Heights warehouse explosion

ArlingtHeights firefighters responded chemical explosiArens Controls 3602 N. Kennicott which caused death one worker plant.  |  Al Podgorski~Chicago

Arlington Heights firefighters responded to a chemical explosion at Arens Controls at 3602 N. Kennicott, which caused the death of one worker at the plant. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

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Updated: May 23, 2012 12:35AM



One worker was killed and seven injured in an explosion Tuesday at a factory in Arlington Heights.

Neil Nichalson, 55, of the 400 block of Catalpa Avenue in Itasca, died after the explosion at Arens Controls factory, 3602 N. Kennicott Ave., officials said.

Seven workers who suffered from shock and concussions were treated and released from local hospitals. Three police officers and two firefighters suffered respiratory discomfort and were taken to local hospitals.

Arens Controls CEO Kenneth C. Kunin said the company’s thoughts and prayers are with the workers and their families in the aftermath of what he called a “tragic accident.”

“All our efforts will go into supporting them while simultaneously working and cooperating with public safety officials and investigators to ascertain exactly what happened and why,” said Kunin in a statement.

Firefighters responded to reports of an explosion at 8:30 a.m. at the factory, Arlington Heights Fire Chief Glenn Ericksen said. They found the building filled with smoke and a worker who was severely injured in the blast and beyond medical help.

Arens Controls manufactures electrical and mechanical components, which it tests in the chamber by heating and then cooling, Ericksen said. The worker was in a testing chamber about the size of a refrigerator when the explosion happened, Ericksen said.

In the explosion, Bob Lee, 59, who lives about a block away, said he heard a large boom that “sounded like a large truck backfiring.”

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