Chemtool facility participates in flames

Police in Illinois have opted to allow a massive fire in a chemical plant that started Monday morning with a large explosion burn the chemical product off, which could continue for several days.

“We can’t speculate how long it will have to put the fire,” Rockton Fire Department Chief Kirk Wilson said, FOX channel WFLD-TV reported.

Officials opted to allow the fire burn itself rather than risking chemical runoff spilling into the local Rock River,” WBBM-TV reported.

The explosion faded in a facility owned by Chemtool Incorporated at Rockton around 7 a.m. followed with the blaze which had to be contained hours afterwards. Aerial images taken of this scene show big plumes of black smoke billowing into the air as firefighters raced to extinguished the flame.

Locals reporting viewing”little chunks of the building” falling from the skies.

Gov. J.B. Pritzker, a Democrat, said that he had been monitoring the situation and announced the installation of the Illinois National Guard, state police and the state Environmental Protection Agency to assist local jurisdictions.

“Teams from several state agencies are on the ground and coordinating closely with local governments and we’re going to continue to make additional information available when we’ve got it,” he said in a statement. “To those impacted, please hear advice from emergency officials and also be aware that the state of Illinois is doing everything possible to protect you and your nearest and dearest.”

The plumes of smoke can be seen for miles and became so big they were being picked up on weather radar. Wilson stated there was”no danger to air quality at ground level” The fast-moving blaze has been helped by strong winds, he said.

At a Facebook post, the Village of Rockton advised citizens to prevent Route 2 and East Rockton Road”so first responders from other communities can quickly react to this Chemtool fire.”

Trisha Diduch, the planning and development administrator for Rockton, stated she estimates about 1,000 people are affected by the evacuation order and the Caribbean area, which is just about a mile from the plant, is being evacuated. The arrangement is for a 1-mile radius, she explained.

She told The Associated Press that after she walked out to see black smoke and everything seemed to be bits of cardboard boxes and”little chunks of this construction,” falling from the skies she phoned the police department’s non-emergency line.

“You have ta go,” she said she was advised.

King and her daughter went into her mother’s house about two miles away. King then returned to the apartment to collect the household’s rabbit. As she drove near the plant, King saw smoldering embers across the roadway, and there was”burned material” all across the lawn of their apartment building, she said. The atmosphere had a chemical odor, she added.

“It was dreadful,” she explained. “I am terrified I won’t have a house to return to.”

Chemtool is a company which produces detergents, grease products and other fluids, and can be, according to its site, the largest manufacturer of dirt from the Americas. It was not immediately clear what caused the explosion that led to the fire.

“We’ve confirmed all on website are safe and accounted for,” Chemtool said in a statement. “Our concern at this time is for the safety of all our workers and the surrounding community.”

The business said it will share additional details as they’re known.

“We don’t yet know what caused this episode, but we will be working with local governments and with our risk management staff to ascertain what happened and identify any corrective actions,” it said.

Wilson said about 70 workers were at the plant when firefighters arrived and all of them were evacuated safely. In addition, he said one firefighter suffered a minor injury.

He said that”at this point and time there is not any danger to air quality at ground level,” but that given the huge plumes of smoke, officials ordered the evacuation as a preventative measure.

“We do not need to have an environmental nightmare to happen,” he explained.

Rockton is approximately 100 miles north of Chicago.