CHICAGO - The families of three men killed in an explosion near Starved Rock State Park filed a lawsuit Thursday, saying companies at a nearby demolition site are to blame for their deaths.
Immer Rivera Tejada, 39, Rafael Rivera Tejada, 36, and Guillermo Rivera Tejada, 26, were killed on May 6 while on a fishing trip along the Illinois River. Immer and Rafael were brothers, and Guillermo was their nephew.
When they went to cook the fish along the banks of the Illinois River, the families' attorney said they grabbed something to prop up the pan.
"They used what appeared to them as a copper pipe, just an innocent looking copper pipe on the shore. Within a matter of minutes with this pipe on the campfire a fatal explosion occurred and the three of them were tragically killed," says Patrick A. Salvi, from Illinois law firm of Salvi, Schostok & Pritchard, P.C.
Salvi says the 'pipe' was really an explosive rod that was the same kind used nearby in the demolition of the old Route 178 bridge back in March.
He blames two construction companies and a blasting company that planned and carried out that job adding that they, "then lost the device allowing it to go unaccounted for and it fell into the hands of three unknowing fishermen."
In announcing the wrongful death lawsuit, the widow of Immer Rivera Tejada said all three families lived on the same block in Little Village, and the men, all fathers, leave behind 7 children in all.
"There are days when I wake up and for a moment I forget that my husband has died. Every day our children are reminded that their fathers are never coming home. Words cannot fully describe the depths of the pain we feel to lose so many family members all at once," Maluc Cordoba-Arce said.
The families say they want justice and compensation, plus they hope to prevent a tragedy like this from happening to any other family.