Worker killed at Westmont auto shop

April 19, 2010 (WESTMONT, Ill.)

The man was welding outside of the auto service building Monday morning when the explosion occurred. People near the auto shop heard and felt the explosion.

This is a very close-knit community. Most of the businesses are mom and pop stores. Everyone seems to know one another and they say they're devastated by the loss of their own, an employee of a Midas muffler shop.

According to police, 28-year-old William Zuponeck of Glendale Heights was welding behind the building at 401 W. Ogden Avenue. Police said the explosion was caused by welding sparks igniting chemical vapors in a barrel.

The Midas shop is across the street from the Downers Grove Market Mall.

"We felt a very large shake, like a sledgehammer, I mean a pressure wave feeling. We went outside. We didn't know what caused it. We didn't see any smoke," said Klaus Pritschet, Westmont Vision Center.

"9:30 this morning, I was sitting here eating breakfast, and heard this loud bang and it was like a bomb going off, and I just glanced out the window...and it felt like debris flowing up from over there," said Bill Lattal, Subway sandwich shop.

"Around 9:30, there was a big boom and the whole building shook. We weren't sure what was going on. We saw people running out from the bagel place next door and saw someone come out from the back of the building and run up front," said Kristian Robertson, BoRics hair salon.

Robertson said he learned the 28-year-old was killed after being struck by objects thrown by the blast.

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