Madison County Federation will honor victim of gas line explosion


East Alton, IL – John Douglas Behme, the Operating Engineers member who died April 29 after a work-related accident, will be honored by the Greater Madison County Federation of Labor on the next Workers Memorial Day.

Behme, 44, of Worden, IL, suffered 3rd-degree burns affecting 70 percent of his body in a natural gas line explosion while he was working in Maryville on April 6.

Ameren Illinois said a construction crew damaged a high-pressure steel gas line, causing explosions in an area being prepared for a new subdivision, Villas of Nottingham, along Illinois 162, a mile west of Illinois 159.

Behme was the only person hurt in the explosions and was helped to safety by a Maryville police officer, Justin Krausz.

Ameren shut off the gas line quickly. Some homes in the Nottingham Estates subdivision were evacuated as a precaution.

Workers’ cars and construction equipment caught fire, but the fire crews were able to douse them.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration is investigating the accident.

Behme was taken to Anderson Hospital in Maryville and later to Mercy Hospital in St. Louis, where he died from his injuries on April 29. The funeral was held May 2 at Trinity Lutheran Church in Worden, with burial at the church cemetery. Memorial contributions may be made to the Childrens’ College Fund.

He was a member of Operating Engineers Local 520. Survivors include his wife, Angela Behme, plus a son, a daughter and his parents.

B. Dean Webb, president of the Federation, noted Behme’s death at the Federation’s May 26 meeting and said Behme would be honored with inclusion on the Workers’ Memorial in Gordon F. Moore Park in Alton at the next Workers Memorial Day, April 28, 2017.


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