Rockton’s Massive Chemical Plant Fire Releases Potentially Hazardous Chemicals into the Community
The Illinois trial attorneys at Meyers & Flowers are currently investigating potential claims for those affected by the catastrophic explosion at a chemical plant in Rockton, Illinois.
A heavy plume of smoke large enough to be seen miles away shot into the air as a Rockton chemical plant caught fire, prompting hundreds to evacuate their homes and businesses.
Just after 7 a.m. Monday morning, a fire erupted at Chemtool Inc., a global manufacturer of industrial fluids, lubricants, and grease products – the largest producer of industrial grease in the county. Fortunately, the dozens of employees were able to safely escape just before the blast.
Local authorities placed a one-mile evacuation order from the scene and advised those within a three-mile radius of the plant to wear a mask in efforts to protect the community from the unknown environmental consequences. An estimated 125 Winnebago County homes and businesses have been impacted by the preventative evacuation, which may be extended as officials foresee the fire to likely burn for several more days before the chemicals fueling the fire to dissipate.
Outside agencies have been rushed to the scene to review air and water quality, while fire crews battle the ongoing blaze. Half a million gallons are still left to burn, amid concerns of using water to put out the flames that could send runoff into the nearby river. Now on the scene, Louisiana-based fire specialists are opting to douse the fire with special foam to suppress its spread.
The plant houses dozens of chemicals, some being lead, antifreeze, nitrogen, and sulfuric acid, all of which are toxic in nature. The toxic threat is still being evaluated, but may pose serious, long-term effects to those in the area.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency is currently investigating the incident alongside the Illinois EPA. The IEPA has already asked to hold the company accountable, citing Chemtool violated the Illinois Environmental Protection Act and Illinois Pollution Control Board Regulations by “causing or allowing the release of pollution into the atmosphere.” The state EPA is also urging the Attorney General to pursue legal action and require Chemtool to turn over records that may determine “the cause of the fire and an estimate of the nature and amount of any emissions of sulfuric acid mist, particulate matter and other air contaminants as a result of the fire.”
Meyers & Flowers is dedicated to supporting the Rockton community in the aftermath and cleanup of the disaster. Our premise liability team knows all too well the devasting impact chemical facilities can have on neighborhoods. We are here to assist and listen to those effected in Winnebago County, whether that is property damage or potential health affects – we will stand by you. Contact us today at (630) 232-6333, [email protected], or request a free case evaluation online.