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updated: 9/19/2013 12:34 PM

Glendale Heights man dies, swept away in Chicago sewer

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A 25-year-old Glendale Heights man doing construction work Wednesday in a Chicago sewer was killed when he was swept away by a flash flood, authorities said.

Gustavo Briceno Jr. was identified by a spokesman from the Cook County medical examiner's office.

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His employer, Kenny Construction, released a statement Thursday morning concerning Briceno's death.

"We are deeply saddened by the loss of one of our co-workers last night. Gustavo Briceno Jr. was a valued member of our team," the statement read.

"The cause of the incident is not known at this time. Kenny Construction places the highest value on safety. We are working cooperatively with authorities on the investigation. Our focus right now is on supporting Gus' family, his friends and all of our employees who have been affected."

Kenny spokeswoman Jacque Fourchy said Briceno had been with the company since 2006, when he joined the union at the age of 18.

Fourchy said Briceno was an underground laborer working in the sewer on the 3000 block of North Rockwell Street when he was swept away by the flash flood as a large thunderstorm pelted the city.

Michael Fox, chief of special operations for the Chicago Fire Department, said Briceno was hit by a wall of water. His body was recovered several hours later after a remote camera was lowered into the sewer to locate him.

Fox said Briceno was using a special emergency harness inside the sewer, but the harness was unclipped.

Fourchy said the company and many of Briceno's co-workers are helping investigators.

"The investigation is in the earliest stages but we're cooperating with every agency to learn what happened," Fourchy said. "We're all just devastated."

An autopsy was scheduled for Thursday morning.

• Daily Herald wire services contributed to this report.

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