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June 15, 2021: Massive Fire at Chemical Plant in Illinois Forces Evacuations

The Chemtool Inc. plant in Rockton, Ill caught fire just after 7 am on Monday. The cause of the fire is currently under investigation. The plant produces several types of grease, lubricants, metal working fluids and cleaners, and other products.

Businesses and residents within a mile of the plant were forced to evacuate for several hours. Officials are concerned that some dangerous chemicals, like sulfuric acid, nitrogen, and lead, could spread through smoke. They are asking anyone that has to be outside is asked to wear a mask for their own safety.

Rockton Fire Chief, Kirk Wilson, said “The building is pretty much consumed… We’re thinking that this is going to be a several-day event to have all of this product burned off. And that’s the best thing we can do right now. The main thing is that we don’t want an environmental nightmare to occur so we stopped water operations at this point. We stooped suppression. We felt that it was in our best interest to let this product burn off.”

Chemtool Inc. said “At approximately 7 a.m. today, local emergency personnel responded to a fire at the Lubrizol Corporation’s Chemtool Facility in Rockton, Ill. We have confirmed all on site are safe and accounted for. Our concern right now is for the safety of all our employees and the surrounding community. As a precaution, authorities have evacuated residents in a one-mile radius of the site. We do not yet know what caused this incident. We’ll be working with local authorities and with our own risk management team to determine what happened and identify any corrective actions and will share more details as they are known. We are grateful to our employees, first responders and safety forces responding to this incident.”

Fire at Illinois chemical plant could cause ‘environmental nightmare,’ fire chief says

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