A major fire broke out at Chemtool’s chemical plant in Rockton, Illinois, after an explosion Monday local time.
According to local media, the police sent out a fire warning at 08.46 am, and it wasn’t long before it “swallowed the factory”.
– This announcement affects all residents and businesses south of Chemtool at Prairie Hill rd. Traffic is advised to avoid the area. Please evacuate, the police warning said.
About 50 employees were evacuated immediately, according to the company. No one was hurt, except for a lightly injured firefighter, Ricton Fire Chief Kirk Wilson said at a news conference later Monday.
He writes that nearly 150 homes have been vacated so far NBC Chicago.
It can burn for several days
Chemtool produces oils, fluids and lubricants, and according to the company it is the largest manufacturer in this field in the United States, as the news agency wrote. AP.
The plant can “burn for several days,” Wilson says.
We stopped using water to put out fires to avoid an environmental nightmare when it came to chemical pollution in the nearby Rock River. At this point, the plant is somewhat sunken. We believe this will continue for several days until the burning is over, the fire chief said at a press conference.
He says about 40 to 45 emergency services units were moved to the scene when the alarm went off, and 150 to 175 of them were from the city’s and nearby towns fire service. They have now withdrawn to allow firing. He also wrote that the National Guard was seized CBS Chicago.
The remnants of the fire rained down on us
According to the Associated Press, the smoke clouds became so large and powerful that they were picked up on weather radar — according to NBC Chicago Radar systems operate from space. Wilson says, however, that “there is no risk to air quality at ground level.” They asked specialists to come and assess the quality.
It is estimated that 1,000 people were affected by the accident, including 29-year-old Alyssa King.
– This (bang) woke me up. It shook the entire apartment block, she tells The Associated Press.
She was at home with her eight-year-old daughter when she heard the explosion, and she called emergency services and was told to leave the house immediately. When she was driving to her mother’s home about three miles away, she saw soot and debris falling to the ground.
– It was terrible. She says I m afraid there is no home to go back to.
– They said grab your pets and belongings, and go. You have to go, says Laura Beaufoam ABC 7 Chicago. She and her family were also forced to evacuate.
– While we were packing, it rained down on us causing more flames, she says.
The cause of Monday’s explosion is not known. Chemtool wrote in a statement that it is now focusing on the safety of its employees and local residents in Rockton, and that they will help local authorities determine the cause.