Illinois Gov Sends Reinforcements To Help Suppress Devastating Chemical Fire

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by Tyler Durden
Monday, Jun 14, 2021 - 03:47 PM

Update (1520ET): As the dangerous chemical fire at Berkshire-owned Chemtool plant in Rockton continued to burn Monday, Illinois Gov. JB Pritzker activated the State Emergency Operation Center to mobilize emergency response to monitor and suppress a large chemical fire in Winnebago County.

The Illinois Environmental Protection Agency and Illinois Emergency Management Agency have already dispatched crews to the area to assist local authorities. The Illinois State Emergency Operations Center in Springfield has also been activated, and members of the Illinois National Guard and mobile response vehicles have been dispatched to the area.

"I am monitoring this situation closely and will make all resources available to the surrounding communities as we work to keep people safe," said Governor JB Pritzker. "Teams from multiple state agencies are on the ground and coordinating closely with local authorities and we will continue to make additional information available as soon we have it."

According to local news, the following agencies are all responding to the fire:

  • Illinois Emergency Management Agency
  • Illinois State Police
  • Illinois Department of Transportation
  • Illinois Department of Public Health
  • Illinois Environmental Protection Agency
  • Office of State Fire Marshal
  • Illinois National Guard
  • Mutual Aid Box Alarm System (MABAS)
  • American Red Cross
  • Salvation Army

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An Illinois chemical plant is on fire Monday morning as a thick black column of smoke (possibly emitting dangerous chemicals into the atmosphere) prompted local authorities to evacuate residents within a one-mile radius of the facility. 

Chemtool, a manufacturer of fluids, lubricants, and grease, erupted in flames around 0700 local time Monday. Multiple fire departments were called to 1165 Prairie Hill Road in Rockton, Illinois, for reports of smoke coming from the plant. 

The company told local news WTVO, "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, 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."

Around 1018ET, WTVO posted a video of a massive fireball ripping through the facility. 

According to EPA's database, Chemtool has no compliance violations in the past three years as the origins of the fire remain a mystery. 

Smoke plumes were reportedly picked up on radar, while local residents are finding debris in their yards.

This is another blow to the global supply chain as fluids, lubricants, and grease, used in machinery, can no longer be made at the facility due to what appears to be heavy damage sustained from the explosion. 

Meanwhile in Russia, 21 people were reportedly injured when a Novosibirsk gas station exploded.