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Blast that killed 3 near Starved Rock linked to months-earlier bridge detonation, lawsuit says

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Explosion River

UTICA (WEEK) - Families of three men killed in an explosion near Starved Rock State Park are suing state contractors, blaming them for their loved ones deaths.

Three Chicago men died in an explosion while fishing and making a fire along the Illinois River.

Three private companies were hired by the Illinois Department of Transportation to use explosives to bring down the Old Route 178 bridge in Utica.

The lawsuits claim workers failed to properly dispose of explosive devises used to take down the bridge.

The suits say the men thought they were using a copper wire to prop up the fire they built to cook their dinner, but it was actually an undetonated charge that went off and killed them.

The families' attorney spoke with reporters.

"This fatal occurrence should have never happened. Very avoidable," he said.

The bridge was demolished in March of this year, a few months before the fatal blast.

The men who died had seven children.

Associated Press said representatives from the companies named in the lawsuit declined to comment.

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