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updated: 4/18/2013 7:45 AM

Dawn Patrol: Lightning causes fires; deadly Texas explosion

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  • Gurnee resident Sue Tebbetts places a sandbag on a pile as volunteers fill sandbags in Gurnee yesterday to help area residents and businesses from the flooding caused by the Des Plaines River. Heavy rains are expected to continue today, causing the problem to become worse.

      Gurnee resident Sue Tebbetts places a sandbag on a pile as volunteers fill sandbags in Gurnee yesterday to help area residents and businesses from the flooding caused by the Des Plaines River. Heavy rains are expected to continue today, causing the problem to become worse.
    Gilbert R. Boucher II | Staff Photographer


Dozens feared dead after Texas fertilizer plant explosion

Officials said people died after an explosion at a fertilizer plant near Waco, Texas, last night, but they would not put a number on it until this morning. The blast at West Fertilizer in West, a community about 20 miles north of Waco, happened shortly before 8 p.m. It left the factory a smoldering ruin and caused major damage to surrounding buildings. Full story.

Flood plans in effect or ready to go along suburban waterways

While volunteers in Fox Lake, Gurnee and some other Lake County towns filled, stacked and delivered sandbags yesterday, communities downstream in McHenry and Kane counties put their own flood plans into place. "If Wednesday's storm was indicative of where things will head this week, the flooding will be serious," said Kurt Woolford, chief engineer and flood response manager for the Lake County Stormwater Management Commission. Full story.

Lightning the likely cause in multiple Lake County fires

Multiple fires that crews from the Countryside Fire Protection District responded to yesterday afternoon may have been caused by lightning, according to officials. The fire that caused the most damage occurred around 12:24 p.m. on the 26700 block of Long Meadow Circle in Mundelein. Upon arrival, crews found the roof of a single-family, one-story home on fire. Full story.

Nuclear engineer guilty of Woodridge 'thrill' carjacking

A senior reactor operator at a nuclear power plant who is believed to have fled the country was found guilty yesterday of an armed carjacking of a woman's car in the parking lot of a Woodridge store. A jury found Michael Buhrman, 32, of Coal City, guilty of aggravated vehicular hijacking with a firearm and vehicular hijacking. Full story.

Wood Dale cop testifies about shooting intruder

A Wood Dale police sergeant yesterday described how he shot an intruder in his home after being unable to fend off the suspect during a knockdown, drag-out fight. "He was a much better fighter than I was," Sgt. Michael Peters testified. Former Harper College wrestler Kerin Ramirez is on trial, accused of invading the officer's home in unincorporated Carol Stream in September 2011. Full story.

Naperville approves $7.5 million in Water Street incentives

The final piece of downtown Naperville's Water Street puzzle was pushed into place, as city council members agreed to rebate as much as $7.5 million to the developer during the next 20 years. Marquette Companies officials asked for a rebate of as much as 75 percent of the sales tax revenue generated from the $85 million development, but lowered the request to 50 percent. Full story.

Is lack of scrutiny causing ride-free permit scams?

Regional Transportation Authority officials are scratching their heads over a spike in applications from low-income disabled individuals to ride free. The jump coincides with state budget-cutting that eliminated staff members who verified whether people's claims were bona fide, RTA Chief of Staff Jordan Matyas said. Now people applying for free-ride status do so online and there's limited scrutiny. Full story.

Boston fans mourn, then cheer as sports return

Emerging from a moment of silence with a deafening cheer, fans at last night's Bruins game paid tribute to the victims of this week's Boston Marathon bombing with a stirring national anthem and a thunderous chant of "U.S.A.!" The sold-out crowd at the first major sporting event in the city since Monday's attack lined up for metal-detecting wands and random car inspections to get into the TD Garden. Full story with video of the amazing scene.


Today is expected to be worse than yesterday. Heavy rains are expected throughout the day, then thunderstorms with potential hail and possible tornadoes are expected late this afternoon. Temperatures are about 40 degrees, then will climb to 73 degrees this afternoon, before dipping back to 37 degrees tonight. Full story.


People are urged to remember the slogan this morning: turn around, don't drown. With so many roadways closed due to high water, motorists are told to give themselves plenty of time to get to work. And, please do not drive through flooded areas in Gurnee, Libertyville and Fox Lake unless required to do so. Full story.

Bulls beat Wizards to lock up No. 5 seed in East

Carlos Boozer had 19 points and 15 rebounds to help the Bulls clinch the fifth seed in the Eastern Conference with a 95-92 win over the Washington Wizards in the regular-season finale last night. Kirk Hinrich added 18 points and Nazr Mohammed had a season-high 17 for the Bulls, who will face the Brooklyn Nets in the opening round of the playoffs. Full story.

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