The refinery explosion which opens Great News Town was inspired by an event that actually happened in Will County about a year after the murders. The explosion of the Union Oil Refinery on Monday evening, July 23, 1984, could be felt for a 40-mile radius. The tremor broke windows, knocked down garages, cracked plaster and threw people out of their chairs in homes miles away from the site. More than 100 firefighters from 30 departments in three counties fought the blaze which killed 13 people and injured 22.
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A picture of the Romeoville Refinery fire taken from the story that appeared in the Herald-News.