A massive explosion happened this morning in Rockton, Illinois at a chemical plant. Fortunately, there was first a small fire, which served as a warning for the plant. They were able to call in the appropriate authorities. This gave time for multiple fire departments to respond and an evacuation in the area to be issued. As of this writing, it’s believed that no one has been injured. However, the video below makes that news very surprising. The chemical plant was on fire, burning fairly high and hot, while the fire department can be seen attempting to control the situation. That’s when, suddenly, a fireball reaches for the sky and things get much worse.
See the moment with the explosion in the video below.
While you don’t hear the explosion happen in the above video, it’s been said that loud pops could be heard coming from the building prior to the fireball event. Reporters in the area have kept a live feed rolling, watching as the fire continues to burn.
It’s unclear just how far away you can see the plume of black smoke, but many in neighboring towns are reporting experiencing the effects, with clear views of what’s happening even 20 miles away. The mandatory evacuation zone was within a one-mile radius and locals were advised to head to Roscoe Middle School. Residents had to flee their homes and vehicles were told to avoid the area before the explosion took place.
The Chemtool plant doesn’t get too specific about all the chemical types they work with on a daily basis, but they do say that they make fluids, lubricants, and greases for several industries. These include industrial chemicals for metalworking, steel industries, automotive needs, agriculture, construction, energy companies, marine businesses, and mining. At this time, it’s unclear what chemicals were involved in the explosion or how the incident began, but chemicals for these industries are typically highly flammable substances. Prior to the explosion, it was said that they weren’t sure what caused the fire or if any hazardous chemicals were involved. While the fire may not have involved hazardous chemicals at first, it seems like the explosion must have.
As of this time, authorities haven’t addressed how far away the air quality may be affected by the explosion. It would seem to be unsafe for locals to be breathing in the burning chemicals, but since they are unclear on what chemicals are currently burning, they may not yet know what the status of the air quality is.
The company’s public statement, prior to the explosion, was issued by Alicia Gauer, the senior director of global communications for the Lubrizol Corporation. They’ve owned Chemtool since 2013. The company moved to its current location in Rockton Illinois four years prior. The senior director said:
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. We are grateful to our employees, first responders and safety forces responding to this incident.
The fire department in Rockville was notified around seven in the morning, with the explosion not happening until a couple of hours later. It appears that the fire personnel have things under control at this time and hopefully the fire will be put out soon.