UPDATE: Sterling man still recovering from pipeline explosion burns

Published: Dec. 5, 2017 at 10:45 AM CST
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

Updated March 12, 2018, 7:05 p.m.

UPDATE: DIXON, Ill. (WIFR) -- A man severely burnt in a pipeline explosion three months ago is still recovering from those injuries.

"It's been a struggle, I'm not gonna lie. But I think as long as I'll be able to go back to work, I'll be fine," said Michael Koster.

Koster sustained burns back in December from an explosion while working for M&R Farms.

"Pretty much just keeping up with what's left of my wounds that still need to be healed, and trying to get everything, keep everything stretched out as it heals, and I've got a therapy appointment to get started with outpatient care," said Koster.

The 20-year-old suffered second and third-degree burns over more than 65-percent of his body from a pipeline explosion, near Nachusa off route 84, while working in the fields.

Koster has had four skin graft surgeries to help his body heal.

"There's nothing much that I can change, so as far as mentally goes, I've pretty much just accepted it," said Koster.

20-year-old Kyler Acklund was hurt in that accident along with Koster. 59-year-old Rory Miller, of Amboy, and 30-year-old Ryan Miller, of Oregon, were killed.

"It was nice working here; they were really, they would compliment you when you went the extra mile. That's something that's really nice for me," said Koster.

Koster hopes he'll soon be able to return to a similar job, but says it will be tough to replace what he had.


Updated December 11, 2017, 3:22 p.m.

UPDATE: NACHUSA, Ill. (WIFR) - The Sterling man injured in last week's gas pipeline explosion begins his road to recovery, starting with his first surgery over the weekend.

20-year-old Michael Koster suffered second and third-degree burns over 65% of his body. Doctors say he will need at least three skin graft surgeries to help him heal from the accident.

Koster's sister Diane says her family is taking it one day at a time and are hopeful Michael will continue to improve each day.

Koster's family says he had been working with M&R Farms, the owners of the land, for almost a year. Doctors say they will wait to see how he responds to his first surgery before scheduling the next procedure.


Updated December 6, 2017, 12:37 p.m.

UPDATE: DIXON, Ill. (WIFR) - The Lee County Sheriff's Office releases the names of the four men killed or injured in Tuesday morning's explosion in Dixon.

Investigators say 59-year-old Rory Miller, of Amboy, and 30-year-old Ryan Miller, of Oregon were killed by the explosion.

Police say 20-year-old Michael Koster, of Sterling, is in critical condition at St. Anthony's hospital in Rockford and 20-year-old Kyler Acklund, of West Brooklyn, was treated for his injuries and released from the hospital.


Updated December 5, 2017, 3:37 p.m.

UPDATE: DIXON, Ill. (WIFR) - The Lee County Sheriff's Office says two people were killed during an explosion in Dixon Tuesday morning around 9. They say two other people were hospitalized, one is in critical but stable condition and the other is in stable condition.

Lee County sheriff John Simonton says at this time the names of the people involved in the accident will not be released until family is notified.

Fire crews say farm workers were installing a tile, to aid with moisture in the ground, in the field when one tractor became stuck. A second tractor attempted to free the first but lost traction when the explosion happened.

Natural gas company Kinder Morgan says the site of the explosion has been secured and that a second pipeline was not hit by farm equipment. Kinder Morgan official Dee Bennett says the farm workers should have called JULIE before digging, but it is not known if a call was made.

Fire crews say Route 38 will remain closed until it is determined that it is safe to reopen the roads.


Updated: December 5, 2017 11:50 a.m.

DIXON, Ill. (WIFR) -- The Lee County Coroner's Office says they have been called to the scene of a natural gas pipeline explosion in Dixon.

The Lee County Sheriff's Department says a natural gas pipeline was "compromised" leading to the explosion. The gas company is currently on scene to make sure the pipeline is secured.

The Coroner's office says they cannot comment at this time on how many people may have been killed.

The Illinois State Fire Marshall is taking over the investigation.


DIXON, Ill. (WIFR) -- Several crews are on scene of a possible pipeline explosion on a field in Dixon.

The Lee County Sheriff's Department has closed Route 38 between Nachusa Road and Robbins Road.

At this time investigators have not confirmed what led to the explosion near the area of Nachusa Road and Route 38.

Witnesses tell us a farmer may have been using farming equipment in that area when they struck the pipeline.

We have a crew on scene and are working to confirm more details.