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Lee County farmers pay tribute to father and son killed in pipeline explosion

AMBOY, Illinois-- More than 50 Lee County farmers parked their tractors outside Prairie Repose Cemetery to say goodbye to a father and son.

“Not everybody knew Ryan and Rory well, but they knew them as farmers, they knew them as good farmers,” says neighbor and fellow farmer Katie Pratt.

Rory and Ryan Miller were laid to rest Saturday, December 9th, both were killed in a gas explosion on their farm in Dixon, Illinois.

“I saw the flames…it was way worse than I ever imagined…it just kept getting bigger everywhere I went,” says farmer Nathan Hummel.

Related: Father, son killed in Dixon area pipeline explosion 

The farmers were installing field tile when one of their tractors got stuck. A second tractor was used to try to free the first, but it lost traction and hit a natural gas line.

That 20 inch pipeline also runs under Pratt’s farm.

“We talk to our kids about safety all the time. This has given us the opportunity to continue that conversation in a very somber way,” says Pratt.

Remembering Ryan and Rory Miller as dedicated family men, farms participating in the tribute say they are staying strong by the family’s side.

“The community is around them supporting them and that’s what these tractor are symbolizing today,” says Pratt.

Two other people were injured in the explosion, both are still in recovery.