Evacuations underway after fire reported at Illinois chemical plant

ROCKTON, Ill. — Evacuations were underway Monday morning following a fire reported at the Chemtool Inc. plant in Rockton, authorities said.

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Fire officials have ordered a mandatory evacuation of homes and businesses within a 1-mile radius of the plant at 1165 Prairie Hill Road. Chemtool formulates and manufactures “greases that are used in a multitude of markets and applications,” according to the company’s website.

Those within the evacuation zone map, please head to the Rockton middle school.

Posted by Village of Rockton on Monday, June 14, 2021

The incident began around 7 a.m., when firefighters were called to respond to reports of smoke seen at the plant, according to WIFR. Some residents in the area told the news station that they heard “small explosions” as the fire burned.

The fire sent massive plumes of dark smoke into the sky, which were thick and large enough to be picked up on weather radar, WBBM-TV reported.

Officials with Chemtool told WTVO-TV that no injuries were reported in the blaze.

“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,” officials said in a statement obtained by the news station.

“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.”