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Damage assessments underway morning after deadly explosion in Canton, IL

CANTON, Illinois -- Crews were working on service repairs and damage assessments the morning after a deadly gas line explosion.

An Ameren Illinois employee died and 12 other people were injured when the gas line exploded along 1st Avenue around 5:45 p.m. on Wednesday, November 16, 2016.   According to Ameren Illinois, it started when a crew responded to the scene of a gas leak around 5:30 p.m., "when a third party contractor ruptured an underground gas service line..."

The crew was working on repairs outside of the structure when it exploded.

"One Ameren Illinois worker was fatally injured," said Ameren's statement.

Authorities have identified an Illinois utility worker who was killed in a natural gas explosion as 38-year-old Arturo Silva Jr., of Mapleton.

Several buildings were damaged, according to the Fulton County Emergency Services and Disaster Agency, and residents were being asked to stay away from downtown.

Read More: Gas line break in LeClaire closes busy road

As of 9 a.m.  Thursday, the Canton Square remained barricaded and the downtown was still closed to the public.  The Fulton County ESDA and the Canton Police Department planned to keep their Facebook pages updated on when building owners could access their properties again.

A business property owners and insurance meeting was scheduled for Thursday at noon.  The meeting was set to be at the Canton American Legion at 550 South 4th Avenue.

After the explosion Wednesday, Ameren was reporting 150 customers were without service.  As of 9 a.m., Thursday there were 60 customers without electric and 115 customers without gas service. Repairs were underway.  For further information you can call the re-light line at 1-800-755-5000.

Any displaced residents were advised to contact the Salvation Army Red Kettle Line for assistance. Call 309-232-8774.