Residents Rocked by Massive Explosion

Residents Rocked by Massive Explosion

( – Fire officials in Illinois are trying to prevent an environmental disaster after an explosion reportedly set a chemical plant in the state ablaze. The fire left businesses closed and residents unable to return home.

On Monday, June 14, at around 7 a.m., Rockton fire officials responded to reports of an explosion at the Chemtool Inc. plant in the town. Roughly 70 employees at the grease and lubricant manufacturer were safely evacuated when the fire started. Residents in the area reported hearing explosions and seeing thick black smoke coming from the plant. Chemtool’s owner, the Lubrizol Corp., released a statement saying the cause of the fire is unknown.

Rockton Fire Chief Kirk Wilson said one firefighter suffered from respiratory distress, but the hospital treated and released them. Businesses and residents within a one-mile radius of the plant were evacuated. A public health official warned residents within a three-mile radius to wear masks while outdoors to prevent respiratory problems.

Wilson said the fire is going to burn itself out and he believes it’s going to be a “several-day event.” Firefighters stopped pouring water on the blaze over fears the chemical runoff would pollute waterways. As many as 175 firefighters from 45 departments and Rockton HAZMAT responded to the fire. Authorities are asking residents to avoid picking up any debris from the fire if they come across it.

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