Chicago police, firefighters, and paramedics responded about 11:42 a.m. Saturday November 3, 2018 to a report of an explosion with burn victims, who were working on railroad track maintenance on tracks in the block of 4500 West Byron Street.
A veteran Metra worker was killed and a co-worker was injured. The identity of the man who was killed was released late Saturday after the explosion just before noon Saturday. Omar Solis, 37, was killed about 11:45 a.m. when the tank that was located on a truck exploded.
The Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office said that the man that was killed was Omar Solis, 37. The other man that was injured was transported to Advocate Illinois Masonic Medical Center, where his condition was stabilized. Solis may have been working as an inspector.
RAILROAD WORKERS INJURED BY ACETYLENE TANK EXPLOSION ON METRA MD-N LINE NEAR BYRON AND KILBOURN, CHICAGO https://t.co/Uz50MQG6R9
— ChicagoFireMap (@ChicagoFireMap) November 3, 2018
Seventeen railroad workers were at the location Saturday, working on a project that began last week.
An investigation into the cause of the explosion is ongoing. Acetylene is unstable as a pure gas, which is its state at room temperature and at atmospheric pressure. Acetylene is stored in pressurized cylinders, frequently kept dissolved in acetone solution.
Acetylene is supplied for oxyacetylene gas welding and cutting because of the high temperature of its flame. Oxyacetylene gas, or a combination of oxygen and acetylene used for a flame, produces the hottest flame available from burning common fuel gas. The high temperature available in a torch is used for localized melting and cutting of metals, such as steel.
Solis had 17 years in the railroad industry, officials said on the scene Saturday.
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The videos below show application of acetylene for education only. Please note that it is unknown whether these procedures are anything close to work that was being done by Metra on railroad tracks near the block of 4500 Byron Street on Saturday November 3, 2018.
Oxy-fuel cutting demonstration of a rail at a museum. Later on, the rail joints where welded together using the Thermite welding method (below).
Thermite welding demonstration of two rail joints at a museum. Thermite is a mixture of iron(III) oxide and aluminium granulate, which reacts exothermically above the ignition temperature. Temperatures of more than 2000°C can be reache