Chicago – Potentially explosive material found at Near North Side apartment scene of earlier death

Chicago police returned to a downtown apartment Wednesday afternoon to follow up on the earlier death of a 30-year-old man and discovered explosive material, prompting the bomb squad, SWAT team and FBI to respond, law enforcement sources said.

One of the sources with knowledge of emergency response said two pipe bombs were found in the unit at 240 E. Illinois St. on Wednesday, more than 12 hours after Theodore Hilk was found dead there.

On Wednesday night, police spokesman Tom Ahern would only acknowledge that hazardous materials were found.

The sources said police initially found Hilk dead in his 7th-floor apartment late Tuesday or early Wednesday after one of his parents requested a well-being check on him. When police arrived initially, lab equipment and some chemical substance or substances were discovered, one of the sources said.

Police eventually left the apartment only to return, however, about 4 p.m., to check on it again, and eventually found the explosive material, sources said.

They went back and realized they had observed a hazmat, and that’s when they called the FBI, police spokeswoman Michelle Tannehill said.

Ahern said Wednesday night out of an abundance of caution, specialty units were brought in to contain the items, remove them from the building and transport them to another location to render them safe.

By 11 p.m. Ahern tweeted: Police have cleared the area and have removed and transported the hazardous materials safely for disposal.

Residents one floor above and below the 7th-floor apartment have been evacuated but everyone else in the building was not in danger, police said.

It’s unclear how Hilk died, and an autopsy will be performed Thursday at the Cook County medical examiner’s office.

Chicago Fire Department spokesman Larry Langford said firefighters also instituted their hazardous materials response to the scene to help the police, if needed. No injuries were reported as of Wednesday night.
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