A massive Illinois chemical plant fire erupted on Monday in Rockton Village in Winnebago County. The colossal blaze occurred at the Chemtool facility, a plant that manufactures grease and lubricant. Officials anticipate that several more days will pass before the Illinois chemical fire is brought under control. The fire has already completely destroyed the entire Chemtool plant.
70 workers were employed at the now-devastated Chemtool facility. According to company management and firefighting officials, all of the workers were safely evacuated from the plant when the fire broke out. As of Tuesday, no worker injuries have been reported.
One firefighter was taken to an area hospital with respiratory issues. He was treated and released and is recuperating.
Cause of Illinois Chemical Plant Fire
With the focus still on fighting the blaze, a significant investigation into the cause of the Chemtool fire has yet to commence. There is no solid information yet available on what caused the incredibly destructive fire.
People who live in the vicinity of the Chemtool plant report having heard up to three explosions before the fire was visible. Evidently, the explosions happened in fairly quick succession.
Some homeowners have reported that their residences were impacted at least to some degree by what they believe to be explosions. With that said, there is no specific data available at this time regarding any damage that occurred to any homes or businesses within the evacuation zone (or even beyond).
Chemtool is owned by Lubrizol Corporation. In turn, Lubrizol is a subsidiary of Berkshire Hathaway. Officials from Lubrizol have issued a short statement regarding the matter of the cause of the fire and evident explosions at the Chemtol facility:
We do not yet know what caused this incident, but we will be working with local authorities and with our own risk management team to determine what happened and identify any corrective actions. We will share more details as they are known.
Herculean Response to Roaring Blaze
An all-out response is being made to attempt to bring the Illinois chemical plant under control before the end of the current week. 45 individual fire departments have responded to what remains a fast moving and wind driven fire at the Chemtool facility. At any given time, up to 175 firefighters are on the frontline battling the blaze.
Gigantic Black Smoke Plume Spreads Over Norther Illinois
Within a short time of the start of the Chemtool fire, a thick, black smoke plume began to rise over the Illinois chemical plant fire. By Monday night, heading into Tuesday morning, the dense smoke spread over a large swath of northern Illinois.
Concerns do exist over whether toxic substances are contained in the smoke. Illinois Governor J.B. Pritzker has activated state emergency management officials to monitor the fire, the smoke, and the possible environmental impact. Focus is on the potential impact the chemical plant fire smoke may be having or may have on air quality as well as soil and water.
Specifically, there is a concern regarding what might be toxic runoff from the chemical plant. Firefighters have reported runoff from the chemical plant into the Rock River.
Evacuation Ordered Around Burning Chemical Plant
A fairly significant mandatory evacuation has been ordered as a result of the devastating blaze. All homes and businesses with a one-mile radius of the Chemtool plant have been evacuated. At this juncture, with uncertainty over what types of toxic chemicals may be in the smoke plume spreading from the plant, not exact timeframe appears to have been established in regard to when people will be able to return to their homes or businesses. People living or working in a three-mile radius of the plant are being directed to wear masks when out of doors to protect themselves from any airborne toxins that may be in smoke plume.
Beyond concerns about hazardous toxins in the smoke, ash and debris has landed on properties away from the Chemtool plant. Indeed, this includes ash and debris falling on residential properties outside of the evacuation zone.
If you’ve suffered losses or injuries of some types as a result of the Illinois chemical plant fire, the legal team at The Doan Law Firm is here for you. We can schedule an appointment for you with an Illinois chemical plant fire attorney by calling us any time of the day or night at (312) 267-0000. Our Illinois offices are located at:
875 N. Michigan Avenue
Chicago, Illinois 60611
We can schedule an appointment with an Illinois chemical plant fire at our office, at your home, or any location convenient for you. We can also schedule a virtual appointment online. There is never a charge for an initial consultation.
The Doan Law Firm makes an attorney fee promise to you. We will never charge a fee unless we win for you.