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Illinois chemical plant explosion, fire prompt evacuations

Posted at 11:00 AM, Jun 14, 2021
and last updated 2021-06-14 23:25:36-04

ROCKTON, Ill. (AP/TMJ4) — Emergency crews are battling massive fires at a northern Illinois chemical plant that exploded into flames.

The Monday morning explosion that sent huge plumes of thick black smoke into the air prompted officials to order an evacuation of residents and business to the south of Chemtool Inc., near Rockton.

Trisha Diduch, the planning and development administrator for Rockton, says she estimates about 1,000 people are affected by the evacuation order.

There have been no reports of injuries, and the company says everyone on site is “safe and accounted for.”

The plant manufactures grease products, lubricants and other fluids.

The City of Beloit said on social media it is assisting the Rockton area with water supply are monitoring water supply levels. "But as a precaution, we ask individuals to conserve water and hold off on non-essential water usage, including washing cars and sprinkling lawns," according to their post.

Rockton is located in Winnebago County, near the Wisconsin border, about 95 miles northwest of Chicago.

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